USS Mount Whitney
© US Army/Cpl. DeAndre DawkinsUSS Mount Whitney
Houthi forces fired several ballistic missiles at cargo ships off the Yemeni coast on Tuesday, US Central Command has said in a statement.

Since mid-October, the Yemen-based militant group has launched multiple drones and missiles targeting vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, claiming it is acting in support of Palestinians as a result of Israel's military operation in Gaza.

According to CENTCOM, the latest attacks by the group, which it described as "Iranian-backed terrorists," targeted two commercial vessels.

Three missiles, which came from "Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen," were fired towards the Greek-owned bulk carrier Star Nasia, which sails under the flag of the Marshall Islands, it said.

The crew reported an explosion near the ship, which caused minor damage, but resulted in no injuries. Shortly afterwards another projectile landed not far from the ship "with no effect," and a third missile was intercepted by the USS Laboon destroyer, operating near Star Nasia, the statement read.

Three more missiles were apparently fired at the UK-owned, Barbados-flagged carrier Morning Tide, but landed in the water, causing no damage, CENTCOM said. Both the Star Nasia and the Morning Tide remain seaworthy and are continuing their planned journeys, according to the statement.

The Houthis earlier said they had targeted the Star Nasia, which they identified as a US vessel, and the Morning Tide.

The group's spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, said that "suitable naval missiles" had been deployed against the two ships, and that the "strikes were direct and accurate."

He also warned that the Houthis are planning further operations against US and British assets in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea in response to the "aggression" against Yemen by those two countries.

Over the weekend, the Americans and the British carried out another round of airstrikes on Yemen, saying they were intended to degrade the capabilities of the Houthis to disrupt the movement of freight along one the world's busiest shipping routes.

CENTCOM announced that at least 36 targets in 13 locations across the country were hit, including storage facilities, command centers, missile systems, helicopters and others.

However, General Yahya Saree stressed that the US-led campaign "will not deter us from our moral, religious and humanitarian stance in support of the steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip." The actions of the US and the UK "won't pass without response and punishment," the Houthi general vowed.