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US Navy Dispatched to Yemeni Coast to Protect Saudi-led Coalition Warships

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US Navy has sent a destroyer to the Yemeni coast in order to protect waterways from the Houthi-Saleh alliance.

US Navy Dispatched to Yemeni Coast to Protect Saudi-led Coalition Warships

The USS Cole guided-missile destroyer in Norfolk, Virginia, US, June 3, 2016 (Photo: US Navy / Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Seelbach / Handout via Reuters)

Amid heightened tension between Washington and Tehran, the US Navy sent a destroyer to the coast of Yemen in order to protect waterways from the Houthi-Saleh alliance, allied with Iran, the Reuters news agency reported on Friday, citing two unnamed US officials.

According to the officials, the USS Cole arrived in the vicinity of the Bab al-Mandab Strait off southwestern Yemen, where it will carry out patrols, including escorting vessels.

Meanwhile, local residents said that the US vessel was deployed to Yemen’s territorial waters in order to protect warships of the Saudi-led coalition that are within the range of Houthi-Saleh’s missiles.

In 2000, a boat full of explosives was steered by al-Qaeda bombers into the side of the USS Cole, while it was refueling in the Yemini port of Aden. As a result, 17 US mariners were killed and about three dozen others were wounded.

As the officials told Reuters, the decision to deploy the destroyer to the Yemen’s coast is part of an increased presence of the US Navy in the region, aimed at protecting shipping from the Houthi-Saleh alliance.

Earlier this week, the alliance attacked a Saudi warship off the western coast of Yemen. Reportedly, two crew members were killed in an explosion, occurred due to the attack.

The Houthi-Saleh alliance is allied to Iran, which is at odds with the US President Donald Trump’s administration.

On Saturday, at a press conference in Tokyo, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis called Iran one of the main sponsors of terrorism.

“As far as Iran goes, this is the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world,” Mattis said. “I think it is wise to make certain that Iran recognizes that what it is doing is getting the attention of a lot of people.”

At the same time, the Pentagon’s chief said that he did not see the need to build up US military presence in the Middle East due to the problems of the Islamic Republic.

“It does no good to ignore it. It does no good to dismiss it. At the same time, I don’t see any need to increase the number of forces we have in the Middle East at this time,” Mattis added.

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