US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan
US National Security Advisor Jake SullivanREUTERS/Leah Millis

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday that the US is consulting with allies on "appropriate action" in response to the latest Houthi drone and missile attacks in the Red Sea, ABC News reported.

"We have made clear that the entire world needs to step up together, not the US alone, but all of us working together to deal with this emerging challenge that the Houthis present, backed by Iran. We're going to take appropriate action in consultation with others and we will do so at a time and place of our choosing," said Sullivan.

His comments come a day after three commercial ships came under attack in the international waters of the Red Sea.

The USS Carney, a Navy destroyer that has been patrolling in the area, intercepted and shot down three drones while assisting the vessels on Sunday, CENTCOM said.

In his comments on Monday, Sullivan defended "steps" the administration has taken to deal with the Houthi attacks but acknowledged there continues to be what he called "very alarming behavior."

"We have taken a number of steps, including the movement of carriers, air wings and others to keep this war that is being waged now between Israel and Hamas in Gaza from spilling out into a broader conflict, a full-on regional conflict," he said. "That doesn't mean that we are not seeing very alarming behavior and there are two forms of it in particular, that we're focused on: one is attacks by Iranian-enabled and aligned Shia militia groups in Iraq and Syria, attacking our forces. We are taking steps to protect our people and to strike back against them."

He continued to place blame for the Houthi attacks squarely on Iran, saying that country is supplying the Houthis with the weapons being used.

"We are talking about the Houthis here, they are the ones with their finger on the trigger but that gun, the weapons here are being supplied by Iran, and Iran, we believe, is the ultimate party responsible for this," said Sullivan.

The Iranian-backed Houthis have upped their attacks since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

Several weeks ago, the Houthis hijacked a ship in the Red Sea which they claimed was an “Israeli cargo ship”, but it was later clarified that the ship is under British ownership, is managed by a Japanese company, and had no Israeli citizens on board.

Last week, another vessel, the Liberian-flagged Central Park, was intercepted by unknown attackers before being released under the help of the US Navy.

It has long been believed that Iran is planning to use the Houthis to take over Yemen and seize the key strategic port of Aden, which controls the entrance to the Red Sea and ultimately to Eilat.

Iran last week rejected claims that it was involved in the attacks on Israeli-linked vessels in the Red Sea and also distanced itself from the Houthis.