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Iran weapons seized off Yemen coast aboard ship, government confirms

Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, explosives originated in Iran likely bound for Al Qaeda militants in Yemen.

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(Antler)

The Yemen government said today that weapons seized Jan. 23 from a ship sailing off its coast originated in Iran.

The Yemeni Coast Guard and US Navy combined to stop and search the ship, finding surface-to-air missiles and explosives hidden in the ship’s diesel tank, Reuters reported.

“The source said that the ship, with its cargo, was handed over to eight Yemeni crew in Iran to deliver it to the Yemeni shores,” Saba said, according to Reuters.

When it was seized, Saba quoted an Interior Ministry sources that said the weapons, some Russian made, included C-4 explosives, 122-centimeter shells, RPG shells and bomb-making equipment.

Yemen is battling an Al Qaeda branch responsible for several attempted attacks against American targets, The Associated Press said.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said the ship was acting “erratically … so a routine boarding (was) conducted.”

Iran's government has denied involvement.

The shipment concerns the US government because it shows “ever pernicious Iranian meddling in other countries in the region,” an anonymous American source told Reuters.

The weapons were likely headed to Shiite Muslim Houthi rebels operating mainly in north Yemen.

Elsewhere in Yemen today, the country’s military killed 10 militants linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The US government considers AQAP especially dangerous because it has pleged to attack western and Saudi Arabian targets.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/130202/iran-weapons-seized-yemen-coast-guard-us-navy