USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Normandy deployed in waters near Yemen

20 April 2015 (Last Updated April 20th, 2015 18:30)

The US Navy's aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its escort cruiser, USS Normandy, have been deployed in waters near Yemen, in a bid to bolster maritime presence amid increasing conflict in the region.

USS Theodore Roosevelt

The US Navy's aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its escort cruiser, USS Normandy, have been deployed in waters near Yemen, in a bid to bolster maritime presence amid increasing conflict in the region.

The nuclear aircraft carrier and a guided-missile cruiser were repositioned from the Gulf into the Arabian Sea and will join seven other US warships in the Yemeni waters.

This development comes after reports emerged that Iran had sent ships, carrying unknown cargo, towards Yemen.

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said: "We have seen evidence that the Iranians are supplying weapons and other forms of support to the Houthis in Yemen.

"That's the kind of support that will only contribute to greater violence in that country, a country that's already been racked by too much violence."

On April 14, the UN Security Council approved an arms embargo against leaders of the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels, in attempts to prevent further unrest.

"We have seen evidence that the Iranians are supplying weapons and other forms of support to the Houthis in Yemen."

Pentagon spokesman army colonel Steve Warren has denied reports that the ships were repositioned to intercept Iranian arms shipments to Yemen.

In a statement on its website, the US Navy said: "The purpose of these operations is to ensure the vital shipping lanes in the region remain open and safe. The United States remains committed to its regional partners and to maintaining security in the maritime environment."

Shi'ite Muslim Houthi fighters currently control large swathes of the country including its capital Sana'a, and also dissolved the parliament earlier this year.

On 26 March, a Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes in Yemen with an aim to weaken Houthis.


Image: USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) aircraft carrier. Photo: courtesy of US Navy file.