U.S. Officials: Iran Supplying Weapons to Yemen's Houthi Rebels
IRAQ—U.S. officials tell NBC News that they believe Iran has supplied weapons to the Houthis in Yemen — including coastal defense cruise missiles like the ones that were fired at US Navy ships earlier this month.
"We believe that Iran is connected to this," Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan said.
The head of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, who is tasked with securing the waters off of Yemen, disclosed today that the U.S. and partner nations have intercepted five weapons shipments from Iran that were headed to the Houthis in Yemen.
Donegan said the first intercept occurred in April 2015 when seven ships guarded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy attempted to move weapons to Yemen.
"They were filled with coastal defense cruise missiles, boats that we believe were explosive boats, other weapons that were clearly on the decks of their ships that we saw," he said.
Since then the U.S. and allies have intercepted four other ships with weapons.
"We know they came from Iran and we know the destination," he said. The weapons ranged from thousands of AK-47s, reverse engineered Iranian missiles similar to the TOW anti-tank missiles, sniper rifles, pieces of other equipment and higher end weapons systems, he said.
Donegan alluded to the fact that the Iranians are also training the rebel fighters on how to operate the advanced weapons and radar systems.
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