The US has announced a 10-nation coalition to protect shipping in the Red Sea, after Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked several vessels, disrupting global trade.

The coalition, which includes Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Seychelles and the UK, will operate under the Combined Maritime Forces, a naval partnership that also counts Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as members.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the coalition was a response to the “challenge posed by this non-state actor”, referring to the Iran-aligned Houthis, who have intensified their drone and missile strikes on ships since the start of the war in Gaza.

The Houthis said they targeted two vessels on Monday, the Swan Atlantic and the MSC Clara, in solidarity with the Palestinians. The owners of the ships denied any links to Israel and reported no injuries.

A senior Houthi official warned that the group would confront the US-led coalition in the Red Sea.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the issue with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on Monday, urging cooperation to uphold maritime security.

Austin, who was visiting Israel, is due to hold talks in Bahrain and Qatar on Tuesday.

At least 12 shipping companies, including BP, have suspended transit through the Red Sea, which accounts for 12 percent of global trade and 30 percent of container traffic. The Houthi attacks have forced many freighters to sail around Africa, increasing costs and delays.