The United States has moved a Navy destroyer to off the coast of Yemen to protect waterways from Houthi militia aligned with Iran, two U.S. officials said on Friday, amid heightened tension between Washington and Tehran. 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.

While U.S. military vessels have carried out routine operations in the region in the past, this movement is part of an increased presence there aimed at protecting shipping from the Iran-allied Houthis, they said. The Houthis are allied to Iran, which is at odds with new U.S. President Donald Trump over its recent test launch of a ballistic missiles. FULL REPORT