US military release video showing arms smuggling off Yemen

A team from the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham inspects a dhow while conducting maritime security operations. (AP)
Updated 01 September 2018
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US military release video showing arms smuggling off Yemen

  • Similar vessels intercepted in the same waters in recent years were shipping weapons to the Houthi militia in Yemen
  • Vessel was carrying hundreds of small arms, including AK-47s

DUBAI: The US military released a video showing small ships in the Gulf of Aden smuggling weapons amid the ongoing war in Yemen. 
The short video, published on Friday, says the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham seized over 1,000 weapons from the “stateless” vessels, the  Associated Press reported. 
The US Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Meanwhile, a US defense official told Reuters on Wednesday that the US Navy seized hundreds of small arms, including AK-47s, from an unflagged boat in the Gulf of Aden.

Similar vessels intercepted in the same waters in recent years were shipping weapons to the Houthi militia in Yemen from their backers in Iran.

The defense official told Reuters that the incident took place on Tuesday and the boarding was carried out by the crew of the Jason Dunham destroyer. The unflagged vessel was a traditional dhow.

The defense official declined to comment on the destination of the small vessel, but it was being investigated.

He added that the US Navy and allied ships have carried out similar operations in the past, including seizing drugs from vessels in the area.

The Arab coalition, which is supporting Yemen’s government forces in the war against Houthi militia, has repeatedly accused Iran of shipping weapons, including ballistic missile components, to the group.

Weapons seized by the US Navy from a dhow in 2016 that were believed to be on the way to Yemen. (US NAVY)

In September, Vice Adm. Kevin M. Doneganthe, the top American navy commander in the Middle East, said Iran was smuggling illicit weapons and technology into Yemen, that enabled the Houthis to fire increasingly more sophisticated missiles into Saudi Arabia.

In 2016, the British-based Conflict Armament Research provided detailed evidense of the arms smuggling route between Iran and Yemen. 

The group found that weapons seized from Iranian-made dhows by international warships in the Arabian Sea matched similar weapons captured from the Houthis.

In October 2016,US ships intercepted five Iranian arms shipments bound for Yemen.

The Gulf of Aden is one of the world’s busiest shipping routes connecting Europe to Asia and the Middle East, with Yemen to the north, Somalia to the south and the Arabian Sea to the east


Boat carrying Syrian refugees sinks off Lebanon, most rescued

Updated 22 September 2018
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Boat carrying Syrian refugees sinks off Lebanon, most rescued

  • The boat was ferrying the refugees illegally to Cyprus
  • Most were rescued by the Lebanese army but at least one child drowned

BEIRUT: A boat with around three dozen Syrian refugees on board sank off the coast of Lebanon on Saturday and most were rescued by the Lebanese army but at least one child drowned, security sources said.
The boat was ferrying the refugees illegally to Cyprus, some 180 km (110 miles) away, when it foundered off the coast of northern Lebanon, the sources said. Three more of the people on boat were in a serious condition in hospital.
Lebanon is hosting around 1 million registered refugees from Syria’s civil war, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR. The Lebanese government puts the figure at around 1.5 million.