The U.S. is working with allies to create a multinational effort to protect ships passing through the Red Sea in an effort to stem a surge in attacks by Houthi fighters that has provoked unease about commercial trade passing through one of the world’s most vital waterways.

An announcement could come any day following weeks of consultations about the violence, which began after Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel struck back in the Gaza strip. The Houthis — based in Yemen and backed by Iran — vowed to target Israel’s assets until it abandons its campaign to destroy Hamas.

"We believe that the freedom of navigation and international waters is a rule of the international system that should be upheld,” Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, the Pentagon’s No. 2 official, said in an interview on Wednesday. "It’s an international problem. It’s going to take an international solution, and we’re working with allies and partners on that.”