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U.S. Navy Dispatches Destroyer to Monitor Yemen Waters as Iran Tensions Heighten | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) is towed away from the port city of Aden, Yemen, into open sea by the Military Sealift Command ocean-going tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168), in this file picture taken October 29, 2000. REUTERS/Sgt. Don L./USA Marine corps

The United States has sent a Navy destroyer to patrol off the coast of Yemen to protect waterways from Iran-aligned Houthi militia, as tension escalate between Washington and Tehran, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday.

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, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In 2000, the USS Cole was attacked when al Qaeda bombers steered a boat full of explosives into the side of the American warship while it refueled in the Yemeni port of Aden, killing 17 U.S. sailors and wounding about three dozen others.

While U.S. military vessels have carried out routine operations in the region in the past, this movement, first reported by Reuters, is part of an increased presence there aimed at protecting shipping from the Houthis, the officials said.