Egypt has sent four naval vessels to Yemen's strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait amid a Saudi-led offensive against Yemen's Shiite Houthi group, an Egyptian official said Thursday.
"Two gunboats and two destroyers have crossed the Suez Canal en route to the Red Sea to help secure the Gulf of Aden and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait," a source from Egypt's Suez Canal Authority told The Anadolu Agency.
Earlier Thursday, the Egyptian government announced its "political and military" support for airstrikes launched by Saudi Arabia and several Arab countries – including most of the Gulf States – on Houthi positions in Yemen.
Several Arab states, all of them allies of Washington, have joined the Saudi-led military offensive, which kicked off with a string of overnight airstrikes against Houthi positions and assets in Yemen, including some in capital Sanaa.
Predominantly-Sunni Saudi Arabia said the strikes were in response to calls by Gulf-backed Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi for military intervention in Yemen to "save the people from the Houthi militias."
Fractious Yemen has descended into violence since last September, when the Houthis overran capital Sanaa, from which they have sought to extend their influence to other parts of the country.
Some Gulf countries suspect that the Houthi insurgency is supported by Shiite Iran.