Defence minister Grant Shapps said a British warship had shot down two Houthi attack drones, joining American and French forces in acting to protect shipping lanes in the Red Sea.

"Last night, HMS Richmond used its Sea Ceptor missiles to shoot down two attack drones - successfully repelling yet another illegal attack by the Iranian backed Houthis," Shapps said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday.

"The UK and our allies will continue to take the action necessary to save lives and protect freedom of navigation."

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, Editing by Timothy Heritage)