Yemen seizes Iranian vessel smuggling weapons

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-3-8 11:21:53

The Yemeni Defense Ministry said Thursday it has seized an Iranian cargo vessel while it was smuggling weapons into a Yemeni fishing boat near the Bab el- Mandeb Strait off the Red Sea coasts.

"The vessel, Jihan, was seized along with the Yemeni fishing boat by the Yemeni Navy and was moved to the Aden port for inspection," the ministry said in a brief statement on its website.

The ministry did not mention when the vessel was seized.

It was the second cargo loaded with arms allegedly from Iran that was seized by the Yemeni authorities since the beginning of this year.

On Jan. 23, a 40-ton weapon shipment that was allegedly sent from Iran was seized in a joint operation by the Yemeni coast guards and the US Navy forces in the Arab Sea. However, the Iranian government denied any involvement in this incident.

The shipment include anti-aircraft missiles, explosives, mortar launchers, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), land mines and anti- vehicle magnetic bombs.

The shipment was under inspection by a UN team after the Yemeni government accused Iran of smuggling arms to its northern Shiite and southern separatist groups.

The unrest-ridden Arab country, which struggles to achieve a two-year political transitional process backed by the UN Security Council, has recently witnessed several cases of illegal weapons shipments off its long coasts.

In November 2012, Yemen seized an illegal arms shipment from Turkey with hand guns hidden in packages of biscuits.

Posted in: Mid-East

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