20240103 red sea
Houthi military helicopter flies over the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in the Red Sea. (File photo) Image Credit: Reuters

Washington: Twelve nations led by the United States on Wednesday jointly warned Yemen's Huthi rebels of unspecified consequences unless they halt attacks on Red Sea shipping vessels.

"Let our message now be clear: we call for the immediate end of these illegal attacks and release of unlawfully detained vessels and crews," said the statement released by the White House.

"The Huthis will bear the responsibility of the consequences should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy and free flow of commerce in the region's critical waterways."

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The statement comes after several reports that President Joe Biden's administration is considering direct strikes on the rebels if the attacks continue.

Signatories of the statement included Britain, which on Monday issued its own warning to the Huthis of "direct action," as well as Australia, Canada, Germany and Japan.

The only regional country to sign was Bahrain, the tiny Gulf state that has particularly tense relations with Iran, which supports the Huthis.

The Huthis say they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza by targeting ships with links to Israel.

The United States has sent an aircraft carrier, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, to the area and earlier announced a coalition of countries to protect movement in the Red Sea, through which 12 percent of global trade passes.