Yemen’s Houthis will target ships heading to Israeli ports in any area within their range, the group’s military spokesperson Yahya Saree has said in a televised speech.

“We will target any ships heading to Israeli ports in the Mediterranean Sea in any area we are able to reach,” Saree said on Friday, adding that the decision will be implemented “immediately, and from the moment this statement is announced”.

The Iran-aligned Houthis have launched repeated drone and missile attacks on ships in the crucial shipping channels of the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandab strait and the Gulf of Aden since November in what they say is a campaign of solidarity with Palestinians and against Israel’s assault on Gaza