Yemen’s Houthi rebels are not impressed by the US launching an international naval force to shield Red Sea shipping from their attacks and vowed to fight it — including US partners and their vessels.

“We are not the kind of people who are afraid of war,” Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said during a televised speech on Wednesday.

His statement comes after Washington formally announced on Monday taking the lead in a multinational, anti-Houthi naval operation to protect the key sea lane from the Gulf of Aden to the Suez Canal.