Houthi rebels claim to have fired missiles and drones at four commercial vessels over the past 72 hours, in attacks that were either denied to have ever happened, missed their target or caused no serious damage.

The vessels identified in an official Houthi statement include a Chinese tanker carrying Russian oil that is known to have been hit three days ago and that the group’s military spokesman, Yahya Saree, mislabelled on Tuesday as a “British ship”.