Western forces have also been involved in efforts to thwart the Houthis from disrupting shipping and attacking Israel.

On Friday tens of thousands of people in Yemen took part in protests against Israel and its campaign in Gaza.

Earlier this week, the Houthis launched two cruise missiles at a cargo carrier in the Gulf of Aden, south of Yemen, and set it ablaze.

The strike hit the Ukrainian-owned and Polish-operated bulk cargo carrier the M/V Verbena and severely wounded a civilian mariner.

The US military also reports that a sailor on the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned bulk cargo carrier Tutor is missing after a Houthi attack on Wednesday.

Commander Eric Blomberg with the USS Laboon told the AP: “I don’t think people really understand just kind of how deadly serious it is what we’re doing and how under threat the ships continue to be.

“We only have to get it wrong once. The Houthis just have to get one through.”