A truck loaded with concealed ‘spy drones’ was seized by Yemeni security forces in Marib on Monday, the latest arms cache to be intercepted before reaching Houthi rebels.
The drones were reportedly hidden beneath the truck which was carrying car parts and electricity motors, according to Colonel Nasser al-Tariq.
The rebels “use drones to spy on national army positions and opposition forces on the battlefield” he said, without mentioning whether the delivery had entered through the west coast or across the Omani borders.
The latest development comes just a week after a report released by a UK-based independent research group suggested an arms pipeline running from Iran, through Somalia and Yemen, is arming Houthi rebels.
Conflict Armament Research (CAR) suggested in the newly-released report that a significant number of Iranian arms are being transferred to Yemen using dhows.
“CAR’s analysis of the seized materiel … suggests the existence of a weapon pipeline extending from Iran to Somalia and Yemen, which involves the transfer, by dhow, of significant quantities of Iranian-manufactured weapons and weapons that plausibly derive from Iranian stockpiles,” the report published said.
The results were found after the independent research group analysed three caches of anti-tank missiles, rocket launchers and other light and small arms that were discovered and seized by the USand its allies in the Arabian Sea.
CAR said the arms were “probably supplied with the complicity of Iranian security forces”, despite Iran repeatedly rejecting claims suggesting it supplies Houthi rebels with weaponry.
The shipments contained thousands of AK-47 assault rifles, anti-tank missiles, sniper rifles and “other pieces of other equipment, higher-end weapons systems,” US Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan said.
Yemen has been rocked by conflict since the Houthis overran the capital Sanaa and other large parts of the country in 2014, prompting military intervention by a Saudi-led coalition in March last year in support of the internationally recognised government.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of arming Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and while Tehran denies the charges, the Saudi-led coalition battling the insurgents has since enforced maritime and air controls over the Arabian Peninsula country.