An American warship and multiple commercial ships came under attack in the Red Sea, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The move potentially marks a major escalation in a series of maritime attacks in the Middle East linked to the Israel-Hamas war.

The Pentagon said: “We’re aware of reports regarding attacks on the USS Carney and commercial vessels in the Red Sea and will provide information as it becomes available.”

The Carney is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and it remained unclear what damage, if any, the vessels sustained in the attacks.

A military spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed the attacks, claiming that the ships allegedly ignored warnings from Houthi officials (Petty Officer 3rd Class Bill Dodge/U.S. Navy via AP)

The Pentagon did not identify where it believed the fire came from. However, Houthi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Saree claimed the attacks, saying the first vessel was hit by a missile and the second by a drone while in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait that links the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

He described the ships as allegedly ignoring warnings from Houthi officials prior to the attack.

Saree did not mention any US warship being involved in the attack.

He said: “The Yemeni armed forces continue to prevent Israeli ships from navigating the Red Sea (and the Gulf of Aden) until the Israeli aggression against our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip stops.

“The Yemeni armed forces renew their warning to all Israeli ships or those associated with Israelis that they will become a legitimate target if they violate what is stated in this statement.”

The Houthis have been launching a series of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, as well as launching drones and missiles targeting Israel amid the war.