Weapons from Iran found in Yemen: US

2013-01-29 14:02
(AP Photo/Ugarit News via Human Rights Watch)

(AP Photo/Ugarit News via Human Rights Watch)

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Washington - Military contraband seized by Yemeni authorities last week with assistance from the United States appeared to come from Iran and to be intended for insurgents inside Yemen, The New York Times reported on Monday, citing an unnamed US official.

The contraband, including a large quantity of explosives, weapons and cash, was seized last week after the search of a vessel halted in Yemeni waters. The government of Yemen confirmed the seizure on Monday, the Times said.

US officials said the captured weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, military-grade explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and bomb-making equipment, were manufactured in Iran.

Officials described the smuggling as part of Tehran's attempt to increase its political outreach to rebels and other political figures in Yemen with the goal of fostering a weak state where it can maintain influence through its allies, much as it does in Lebanon, the Times reported.

The Yemeni government is largely paralysed, sectarian tensions are rising and accusations of Iranian interference are on the increase.

Yemeni President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi called Sunday on the United Nations and donors to support his country's political transition.

The United States has publicly acknowledged assisting Yemen on security matters. The US military and the CIA are engaged in a clandestine programme of using drones against militants associated with the Yemeni-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The drone strikes have increased in frequency in recent weeks, with seven apparent drone strikes recorded since January 19, according to the Britain-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which tracks the raids.

Read more on:    us  |  iran  |  yemen  |  middle east peace

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