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U.S. Ships on Standby While Forces Clash in Yemen

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2015 — While the uprising in Yemen continues with militia forces fighting to take control of the government there, U.S. Navy warships stand ready to respond if needed, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters today.

“We are continuing to closely monitor the situation in Yemen,” Warren said.

Two American warships are on routine deployment in the Red Sea in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, he said.

“The [USS] Iwo Jima and [USS] Fort McHenry are on station, and between those two warships, there’s enough combat power to respond to whatever contingency may come up,” Warren said.

The number of Americans in Yemen is not being revealed, he added, but if a need for evacuation arises, the State Department would handle the effort.

Published reports say Houthi militiamen, a group representing the country’s Zaidi sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, took over the presidential palace yesterday.

“The unrest in Yemen is a concern overall,” Warren said.

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)