US special envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking said on Tuesday that Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders and Lebanese Hezbollah operatives are helping Houthi militants in Yemen to conduct strikes in the Red Sea.

“Credible public reports suggests a significant number of Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah operatives are supporting Houthi attacks from inside Yemen,” he said during a Senate foreign relations subcommittee hearing in Washington.

Reuters reported in January, citing Iranian and other sources in the region, that members of the IRGC and Hezbollah were on the ground in Yemen to provide expertise to the Houthis.

The Iranian-backed group, which controls most of Yemen, has continuously struck shipping vessels moving through the Red Sea after the start of the Israel-Gaza war.

The sources said the commanders and operatives are helping the Houthis to direct the attacks as well as building up operations, training members, developing intelligence and smuggling weapons into Yemen.

“I can’t imagine the Yemeni people want these Iranians in their country,” Mr Lenderking said. “This must stop.”

But it is unclear if the IRGC and Hezbollah members were in Yemen before the start of the Israel-Gaza war or were sent more recently.

The attacks on commercial vessels in the vital waterway of the Red Sea threaten at least 15 per cent of global trade.

The US, alongside other allied countries, has launched a maritime security operation in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, called Operation Prosperity Guardian.

It is also conducting aerial operations against Houthi-linked sites in Yemen in the hopes of deterring or degrading the group’s ability to launch attacks – but US President Joe Biden says it may not be working.

“Are [the strikes] stopping the Houthis? No. Are they going to continue? Yes,” Mr Biden said in January.

Source » thenationalnews