The British navy said on Thursday that it has seized anti-tank missiles and fins for ballistic missiles that were allegedly sent from Iran and were intended for the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.

This is part of a growing trend of Iranian weapons smuggling to Yemen. Increasingly, the US, UK and others have been able to identify and interdict these efforts. Iran has been increasing supplies since 2015. In addition, Iran continues to target commercial vessels in the Gulf of Oman, using drones to try to attack tankers and other ships.Destabilizing activity

According to reports, the Royal Navy was able to stop this shipment on February 23. The Associated Press noted that the raid took place “after an American aircraft detected a small motorboat with cargo covered by a gray tarp heading from Iran, with a helicopter from the Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster chasing the vessel as it ignored being hailed by radio,” the British Defense Ministry said. The boat tried to reenter Iranian territorial water, but was stopped before it could.The boat held Russian 9M133 Kornet anti-tank guided missiles. In addition, pieces that could be used for ballistic missiles were found on the boat. Back in January, the US Navy also intercepted 2,116 AK-47 assault rifles being sent to Yemen. Three US vessels were involved in the operation to stop the smuggling.

“This shipment is part of a continued pattern of destabilizing activity from Iran,” Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, said at the time. “These threats have our attention. We remain vigilant in detecting any maritime activity that impedes freedom of navigation or compromises regional security.”In another report, CBS noted on February 2 that “in a statement released Wednesday, the US Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees American military operations across the Middle East, said the seizure took place in the Gulf of Oman on January 15 and was carried out by partner naval from an allied country. French troops led the interdiction,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “In the shipment intercepted on January 15, CENTCOM said the allied naval forces recovered more than 3,000 assault rifles, 578,000 rounds of ammunition and 23 advanced anti-tank guided missiles.”

In February, Iran was accused of an attack on an oil tanker. Iran denied the attack, but the attack was similar to other attacks over the last several years. The tanker, Campo Square, was struck by some type of drone on February 10. Iran has reputedly attempted several other attacks on shipping in recent months. This means that Iran is increasing its role at sea in the Gulf of Oman and off the coast of Iran’s Chabahar, as well as attempts to move weapons to Yemen. Iran wants to keep the Yemen war going.
This comes as the world is being encouraged to send more humanitarian aid funds to Yemen. In a statement by Erin Hutchinson, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Yemen country director, on the outcome of the international pledging conference for Yemen, he said “the international community today showed it has abandoned Yemen at this crucial crossroads, with a mere quarter of the amount needed to support the millions of Yemenis who require urgent assistance. This is woefully inadequate and gives the signal that some humans are less valuable than others.”

There are concerns about a financial shortfall for Yemen. Around $4.3 billion are needed this year for the humanitarian response to reach over 17.3 million people in need, according to the UN.

Source » jpost