"Today there were 4 attacks on 3 commercial ships sailing separately in international waters south of the Red Sea," CENTCOM said in a statement.

"The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Carney responded to distress calls from ships and provided them with assistance," the statement said, shooting down three drones bound for the destroyer during the day.

The Pentagon announced that a US warship and several commercial vessels were attacked in the Red Sea on Sunday.

"We are aware of reports of attacks on the USS Carney and commercial vessels in the Red Sea, and will provide information as it becomes available," the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon did not specify where the fire is believed to have come.

The US announcement signals an escalation in a series of naval attacks in the Middle East, linked to the violent Israeli escalation in the Gaza Strip.

The British military had earlier reported a drone attack and explosions in the Red Sea, without elaborating.

The Red Sea has seen a series of Houthi attacks on ships, as well as drones and missiles aimed at Israel, which is waging war on the Gaza Strip.