The USS Theodore Roosevelt has been sent to the Arabian Sea in response to fighting in Yemen. File Photo by Todd M. Flint/U.S. Navy | License Photo
SANAA, Yemen, April 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. military sent an aircraft carrier to the Arabian Sea on Sunday in response to heavy fighting in Yemen, officials said.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt was escorted by the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy to its new positions in the Gulf of Aden, the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb and the Southern Red Sea to conduct security operations.
"In recent days, the U.S. Navy has increased its presence in this area as a result of the current instability in Yemen," a news release from the U.S. Navy read.
"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."
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren on Monday told The Hill the maneuver was not meant to intercept several Iranian ships that had been deployed to the region.
"Certainly it's going there because of Yemeni instability, but it's not going there to intercept any ships," he said.
Meanwhile, deadly fighting in Yemen continues on multiple fronts.
At least 25 people died and 300 were injured in Sanaa after an airstrike on a missile base caused a large explosion in the Faj Attan area of the capital. The blast flattened multiple residences.
Witnesses said the bomb may have come from Saudi-led coalition airstrikes against Houthi rebels, which began in Yemen three weeks ago.
Aid organization Oxfam has accused the coalition of also launching a strike that destroyed one of its humanitarian aid storage facilities in Saada province in northern Yemen.
"The contents of the warehouse had no military value," the group said. "This is an absolute outrage, particularly when one considers that we have shared detailed information with the coalition on the locations of our offices and storage facilities."