US thwarts smuggling attempt of Iranian arms in the Arabian Sea bound for Yemen’s Houthis

Houthi_USA

United States United StatesThe US (United States) seized two large caches of Iranian arms, including 171 surface-to-air missiles and eight anti-tank missiles in the Arabian Sea. The arms were reportedly intended for the Houthi militia in Yemen. The Houthi militia is a Zaydi Shiite movement that has been fighting Yemen’s Sunni-majority government since 2004.

The US justice department on Tuesday said that while conducting routine maritime security operations, navy troops seized the weapons from two vessels in the Arabian Sea. In a statement, the justice department said that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a designated foreign terrorist organization, who ships weapons. The justice department further said that the arms which were seized were reportedly destined for Houthi militants in Yemen. Earlier, Iran was widely accused of backing the Houthis. However, the country always denied such allegations.

Houthi militia

As per the report by Bloomberg Quint, Hezbollah was also involved in the war in Yemen. The group reportedly also trained Houthi rebels to fight the Saudi-led coalition there. The Hezbollah group has provided arms, training, and financial support to the Houthi militia. However, Iranian and Hezbollah officials have denied such claims. Houthis practice the Zaydi form of Shiism. Reportedly, Zaydis make up around 35 percent of Yemen’s population. Reportedly, Cross-border attacks have been a regular occurrence since the Arab coalition’s 2015 intervention in Yemen’s civil war.

Justice Department of the US

According to the justice department of the US, approximately 1.1 million barrels of Iranian petroleum products were also seized from four tankers around the Arabian Sea while en route to Venezuela, South America. Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, in a statement, said that the operation represents the US “government’s largest-ever forfeitures of fuel and weapons shipments from Iran.”

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