By MarEx 2015-04-21 06:27:34
A senior official in the Iran-allied Houthi movement said the movement of more U.S. warships into waters off Yemen escalates Washington’s role in a Saudi-led campaign against the group and aims at tightening a “siege” on the country.
“The goal of the movement of American ships is to strengthen the siege imposed on Yemen and put the Yemeni people under collective punishment,” Houthi politburo member Mohammed al-Bukhaiti told Reuters.
“This step increases the level of their participation in this war,” he added.
The U.S. Navy sent an aircraft carrier and a guided-missile cruiser into the waters near Yemen, officials said on Monday, heightening the U.S. maritime security presence as concerns mount over Yemen’s escalating conflict.
The U.S. Navy sent the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its escort cruiser, USS Normandy, from the Gulf into the Arabian Sea on Sunday. Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, denied reports the ships were on a mission to intercept Iranian arms shipments to Yemen.
The ships join seven other U.S. warships in the waters near Yemen, which is torn by civil strife as Iranian-backed Houthi rebels battle forces loyal to the U.S.-backed president.
The U.S. Navy said it had increased its presence in the area because of the instability. It said in a statement the purpose was to “ensure the vital shipping lanes in the region remain open and safe.”
The leader of Yemen’s Houthi militants vowed on Sunday not to surrender in the face of Saudi-led airstrikes, speaking for the first time since the Arab coalition’s campaign against the group began on March 26, reports the Wall Street Journal.