Foreign Minister Peters, Defence Minister Collins issue statement supporting US, UK strikes on Houthis in Yemen

The Government has issued a statement in support of the joint US and UK attacks on Houthi fighters in Yemen on Friday.

Both countries' forces launched air, ship and submarine strikes, targeting Houthi weapons and logistics facilities as well as air defences overnight, after Houthi attacks on commercial shipping vessels.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins issued the joint statement, saying the strikes followed warnings.

"We are a trading nation that relies on international maritime law and the free flow of goods, and Houthi actions strike at the heart of New Zealand's national security," said Peters.

He said the Houthis' attacks are illegal and destabilising.

"Today's response is the inevitable consequence of the Houthis' disregard for international law, peace and stability."

Meanwhile, Collins said the United Nations Security Council had also demanded the Houthis stop attacking freighters.

"This is a good example of the international community uniting to address a serious threat to international security."

Aotearoa will maintain maritime security alongside its partners, Collins added.

"New Zealand Defence Forces have a long-standing role, in our exclusive economic zone and throughout the world, in supporting maritime security, including safe shipping lanes and the protection of civilian crews."

Other countries to issue a statement on Friday include Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, the UK, and the US.

Israel is yet to comment on the US and UK attacks.

Who are the Houthis?

The Houthis are a political and military group from Yemen, formed in the 1990s in response to Saudi Arabia's influence on Islam in the country, according to The Guardian.

They stepped up their attacks on commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea on Wednesday, using drones and missiles.

The Houthis said they'd keep targeting vessels until Israel stops its conflict in Gaza, warning earlier this week they'd attack US warships if targeted themselves.

They added they would attack ships deemed as Israeli, owned by Israelis, or with Israelis on board.

Reuters reported on Friday that witnesses said the raids had targeted several military assets around Yemen, including near Sanaa and Taiz airports.