Saudi-led coalition displays Yemeni arms allegedly from Iran | 2018-06-20 |

Saudi-led coalition displays Yemeni arms allegedly from Iran

AP     20th June, 2018 02:01:26 printer

Saudi-led coalition displays Yemeni arms allegedly from Iran


Officials in a Saudi-led coalition battling Shiite rebels for control of a crucial port in Yemen on Tuesday displayed weapons captured on the battlefield that they say show Iran is arming the insurgents.


Iran long has denied arming the rebels, known as Houthis, despite reports by the United Nations, Western countries and outside groups linking it to the rebels' arsenal.


Weapons shown to reporters in Abu Dhabi and later at an Emirati military base on a government-sponsored tour included drones, a sniper rifle, roadside bombs disguised as rocks and even a "drone boat," which had been filled with explosives that failed to detonate.


Iran's mission to the United Nations later said it had no comment on the specifics of the Saudi-led coalition's allegations "other than reiterating that Iran has not sent and does not send armaments to Yemen."


The rare show-and-tell by the Saudi-led coalition comes as the United Arab Emirates leads Yemeni forces in an offensive seeking to capture the Red Sea port city of Hodeida.


The Houthi-controlled port has remained open, as the main battle Tuesday was around the city's airport, to the south.


Already, the Saudi-led coalition has disarmed between 20,000 to 30,000 land mines and bombs, most laid indiscriminately by the Houthis, al-Teneiji said.


Other weapons on display Tuesday included a .50-caliber sniper rifle and mines. Officials also displayed a series of drones they said showed a growing sophistication by the insurgents, starting first with plastic foam models that could be built by hobby kit to one captured in April that closely resembled an Iranian-made drone.


Those advanced drones have been flown into the radar arrays of Saudi Arabia's Patriot missile batteries, according to Conflict Armament Research, disabling them and allowing the Houthis to fire ballistic missiles into the kingdom unchallenged. Iran has been accused by the US and the UN of supplying ballistic missile technology to the Houthis, something Tehran denies.