UK and US naval forces have repelled the largest attack yet by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Red Sea shipping, UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps says.
Carrier-based jets and warships shot down 21 drones and missiles launched by the Iran-backed group overnight.
The Houthis said they targeted a US ship in retaliation for the killing of rebels who tried to attack a container ship by using speed boats last month.
Mr Shapps said he had “no doubt” that Iran was heavily behind such attacks.
The Houthis have carried out 26 attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea since 19 November, according to the US military.
The group has claimed – often falsely – that it is targeting ships linked to Tel Aviv in protest at Israeli actions during the war in the Gaza Strip.
Later, Houthi military spokesman Yahya al-Sarea confirmed that its forces had carried out an operation involving “a large number of ballistic and naval missiles and drones”.
Mr Sarea also reiterated that the Houthis would continue to “prevent Israeli ships or ships heading towards occupied Palestine from navigating in both the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea until the [Israeli] aggression [on Gaza] has come to an end and the blockade has been lifted”.