Several countries have agreed to jointly carry out patrols in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden to try to safeguard commercial shipping against attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.

The Iran-aligned group says the aim of its missile and drone attacks is to support the Palestinians as Israel and Hamas wage war in the Gaza Strip. On Monday, Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a member of the Houthi politburo, told Al Jazeera that his group will be able to confront any coalition formed by the United States that could deploy to the Red Sea.

Austin, who is on a trip to Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's headquarters in the Middle East, said participating countries led by the United States include the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain.