Yemen seizes boat loaded with weapons in Red Sea

A coast guard walks past a ship docked at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen January. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 18 July 2020

Yemen seizes boat loaded with weapons in Red Sea

  • A coast guard vessel on Thursday stopped a boat sailing inside Yemeni waters near Perim Island

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen coastguards in the Red Sea have seized a boat loaded with three tons of ammunition, as the country intensifies sea patrols to intercept Iranian weapon shipments to the Houthis.

A local security official said a coast guard vessel on Thursday stopped a boat sailing inside Yemeni waters near Perim Island. 

The coastguards who boarded the boat found thousands of ammunition rounds in large plastic bags and unnumbered AK47 assault rifles hidden inside. The official said the three Yemeni crewmen, who come from different Red Sea coastal areas, were arrested.

“They admitted that they were heading to Sudan to sell the ammunition,” the official, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Arab News on Saturday. 

He said the three Yemenis were part of a large network involved in smuggling weapons from different countries, including Iran, to Yemen and other places. The official did not say if the seized ammunition and rifles were sent from Iran. “The investigation is still going on,” he added.

In June, coastguards in the Red Sea seized a small boat loaded with dozens of pistols and thousands of rounds. Also that month, five people were arrested after they were found hiding 40 kilos of cocaine in their boat and heading to Houthi-controlled areas.

The Yemeni coast guard authority that fell apart during the Houthi invasion of the country’s coastal areas in early 2015 was later rebuilt by the Saudi-led coalition. Hundreds of soldiers, who were trained inside and outside Yemen, were deployed on fast armed boats along the country’s long coastline in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

For the first time since the beginning of the war, the Yemenis have managed to repel incursions by Eritrean boats and intercept many shipments of weapons and drugs. 

“We succeeded because everyone supports us including the Saudi-led coalition, the National Resistance and others. We have now 150 boats,” the officer said, boasting about their achievements.

The Saudi-led coalition and Yemen’s internationally-recognized government have accused the Iranian regime of sending advanced weapons to the Houthis that resupplied their arsenal depleted by fighting and massive aerial bombardment. 

In June, the Saudi-led coalition announced the seizure of two Iranian weapon shipments heading to the Houthis.

In a separate development the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed Al-Jaber, said that the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) had returned the seized money to the central bank in Aden after the government agreed to pay military and security forces following a successful Saudi mediation. 

“Saudi Arabia’s continuous efforts, through direct meetings between the Govt of Yemen and the STC, to resolve issues of CBY funds and salary payments and implement the Riyadh Agreement, have succeeded due to a consensus among the two parties on alleviating suffering in Yemen,” Al-Jaber tweeted on Friday.

Government and STC officials are engaged in extensive talks in Riyadh, brokered by Saudi Arabia, to discuss ending hostilities in southern Yemen and putting into place the Riyadh Agreement.  

In northern Yemen the Defense Ministry said that government forces, backed by Saudi-led coalition warplanes, assaulted Houthis in Qania in the central province of Al-Bayda.

Five civilians killed in Baghdad rocket attack

Updated 5 min 7 sec ago

Five civilians killed in Baghdad rocket attack

  • The rockets targeted the international airport but struck a residential home close by instead
  • Rocket attacks have become a frequent occurrence, often targeting the US Embassy in Baghdad and US troops present in Iraqi bases as well as Baghdad Airport

BAGHDAD: Iraqi militia groups fired two Katyusha rockets on a house in Baghdad, killing two women and three children and wounding two other children, the Iraqi military said on Monday.
The deaths were the first among Iraqi civilians in the latest outbreak of violence, during which Iran-backed Iraqi Shiite militias have been blamed for targeting US interests in the country. Police sources said Baghdad airport was the target of the attack. 
The rocket was launched from the Al-Jihad neighborhood of Baghdad.
The attacks have become a frequent occurrence, often targeting the US Embassy in Baghdad, within the heavily fortified Green Zone, and US troops present in Iraqi bases as well as Baghdad Airport. Roadside bombs have also frequently targeted convoys carrying equipment destined for US-led coalition forces.
Previous attacks have caused minor damage but rarely deaths or injuries.
The frequency of the rockets have strained Iraq-US relations, prompting the Trump administration last week to threaten to close its diplomatic mission in Baghdad if Shiite militia groups believed to be orchestrating them are not reigned in.
The disparate nature of Shiite militias following the US assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani and Iranian militia leader Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis has complicated Iraqi efforts to clamp down on rogue armed elements.
A government raid on the powerful Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah, suspected of launching rocket attacks, backfired when those detained were released for want of evidence.