Iran rejects claims of sending arms to Yemen in boat

Arab coalition forces waging a military campaign against Houthi fighters in Yemen seized an Iranian boat loaded with weapons in the Arabian Sea on its way to deliver supplies to the group, the Saudi-led alliance said yesterday.

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The coalition has long accused Iran of arming the Houthis, who seized control of the country starting in September past year, claiming they were out to fight corruption and to force Hadi to bring them into the government.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry, in comments reported by the official Islamic Republic News Agency, said the coalition’s claims were “baseless”.

The less-ambitious Saudi alternative wants the United Nations rights chief to provide “technical assistance” to Yemen’s government and provide an oral report to the council on Yemen’s human rights situation.

The ship was carrying 18 pieces of one type of anti-tank missile and 54 of another, as well as launchers and other equipment, according to the coalition. Fourteen crew members aboard the ship were arrested, including the captain, identified as Bakhsh Jakal, it said. The vessel was seized 150 nautical miles off the Omani port of Salalah, the coalition statement said.

Photos released by the coalition showed a large traditional wooden dhow, a type of vessel commonly used in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, with a brown hull and blue-and-white superstructure. It also reiterates calls for Shiite militias, known as Houthis, and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh “to engage in the political process”.

Representatives of the AFHR and the YCMHRV also reiterated their rejection of the western countries’ request to establish a fact finding committee, which they said would dilute and ignore what they termed a human tragedy fomented by the rebel militias.

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Information for this article was contributed by Aya Batrawy of The Associated Press.

A pilgrim walks among dead bodies after a crush in Mina Saudi Arabia during the Hajj pilgrimage rituals