Yemen says seized ship carried rockets from Iran

February 04, 2013 - 2:47:12 am

SANA’A: A ship loaded with rockets and explosives which Yemen said it had intercepted last month came from Iran and the arms were destined for Shia rebels, a security official said yesterday.

“The boat was heading towards the (Red Sea) port of Al Mukha” and the arms “were destined for the Huthi rebels in Saada,” the northern stronghold of the Shia fighters, the Yemeni security official said.

Yemeni coast guard in coordination with the US navy last month intercepted the ship in the Arabian Sea, authorities have said. The vessel “came from Iran and was carrying arms and explosives among them surface-to-air missiles SAM-2 and SAM-3,” state news agency Saba reported yesterday, adding that the crew of eight Yemeni nationals were being questioned.

The ship was stopped on January 23 in Yemeni territorial waters and flew several fake flags, authorities have said. An offshoot of Shia Islam, Zaidis are a minority in mainly Sunni Yemen but form the majority in the mountainous north.

From 2004 the Huthis fought six wars with central government forces before signing a truce in February 2010.