Huge arms shipment seized in Yemen reveals hidden hand of Iran — U.S. officials
A Yemeni holds up a banner during a protest against US drone attacks close to the home of President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, in the capital Sanaa, on Monday. (AFP)
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Yemen on Monday seized a boat filled with a large quantity of explosives, weapons and cash, with U.S. Navy assistance, Reuters reported.
American officials said they believed Iran was behind the arms shipment, which was bound for insurgents in Yemen, without providing any details.
The weapons included surface-to-air missiles, C4 military-grade explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and other bomb-making equipment, an official statement issued by the Yemeni government on Monday said.
Decades of conflict in Yemen have left huge quantities of small arms available to civilians and paramilitaries fighting Sana’a.
At least one Yemeni official is known to be a major arms dealer in the country.
The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are both providing military backing to Yemen in its fight against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Iran has also previously been blamed for arming anti-government militants in what analysts say is a proxy war.
U.S. officials said last year Iran had extended its reach across the region via networks of smuggling and intelligence gathering. The Islamic Republic has also been accused of arming the Syrian regime.
As well as AQAP, Yemen fought a war against Houthi rebels in the north, with the backing of Saudi forces, from 2004 to 2010.
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