While refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden in 2000, Al Qaeda militants bombed the USS Cole by steering a boat full of explosives into the warship’s side. As a result 17 American sailors died, and some three dozen were injured.
Tensions have increased between Tehran and Washington after Iran’s recent ballistic missile test, with US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on Thursday condemning the launch as "provocative," and stating that, "As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice."
US President Donald Trump was asked if he would consider using military force in Iran, and he responded saying "nothing is off the table." Trump has been critical of the nuclear deal with Iran, and on the campaign trail he even threatened to "tear it up," if elected.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) said in a statement, "No longer will Iran be given a pass for its repeated ballistic missile violations, continued support of terrorism, human rights abuses and other hostile activities that threaten international peace and security."
Armed Houthis attacked a Saudi warship off western Yemen earlier this week, with two Saudi crewmembers killed in the explosion, in an escalation of the conflict between the coalition, supporting the recognized government, and militia forces.
Three Houthi-controlled radar installations in parts of Yemen were taken out by US cruise missiles in October 2016 in response to a failed attack on the USS Mason.
Further deepening the strife between Iran and the US are Trump’s new economic sanctions against Iran. On Friday Trump tweeted, “"ran is playing with fire — they don't appreciate how "kind" President Obama was to them. Not me!"