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HomeNewsUS Coast Guard Intercepts Weapons Shipment Bound for Houthi Militant Group

US Coast Guard Intercepts Weapons Shipment Bound for Houthi Militant Group

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Source: Politico

A United States Coast Guard vessel intercepted weapons destined for the Houthi militia during a mission in the Arabian Sea towards the end of January, according to an announcement by U.S. Central Command on Thursday.

During an operation on January 28, personnel on the Coast Guard ship Clarence Sutphin Jr. located and boarded a vessel, as stated by the command in a release, which did not specify the operator of the vessel or provide further details. However, the command noted that the shipment had its origins in Iran.

“A U.S. Coast Guard cutter, forward deployed to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility, seized advanced conventional weapons and other lethal aid originating in Iran and bound to Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen from a vessel in the Arabian Sea on Jan. 28,” officials reported.

U.S. military officials say the Sentinel-class fast-response cutter USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. located the ship, boarded it and found more than 200 packages of weaponry. 

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ALSO READ: UK Foreign Official Calls for End to “Houthi Attacks” After Latest Joint Strike With US

The packages contained “medium-range ballistic missile components, explosives, unmanned underwater/surface vehicle components, military-grade communication and network equipment, anti-tank guided missile launcher assemblies, and other military components,” according to CENTCOM.

“CENTCOM identified these mobile missiles, UAVs, and USV in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined they presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region,” it added. “These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy and merchant vessels.”

The seizure occurred as the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Red Sea persisted in targeting commercial vessels, prompting retaliatory actions from the United States and its allies. The United States and Britain began retaliatory strikes on Houthis in January to demonstrate that the U.S. and its allies “will not tolerate” the militant group’s ceaseless attacks on the Red Sea.

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“These strikes are in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea — including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history,” Biden said in a statement. He noted the attacks endangered U.S. personnel, civilian mariners and jeopardized trade, and he added, “I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.”

“This serves as another illustration of Iran’s harmful activities in the region,” remarked General Michael Erik Kurilla, Chief of Central Command, in the release. “Their ongoing provision of advanced conventional weaponry to the Houthis is a clear violation of international law and further jeopardizes the security of international maritime traffic and the smooth flow of trade.”

CENTCOM added that it is “committed to working with our allies and partners to counter the flow of Iranian lethal aid in the region by all lawful means including U.S. and U.N. sanctions and through interdictions.”

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ALSO READ: Experts Criticize Biden’s Response to Houthi Attacks, Say US Navy Is Sinking in Middle East Sand

The transfer of such weaponry violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216, which prohibits the supply, sale, or transfer of arms to Houthi forces in Yemen. This interception underscores Iran’s ongoing support for the Houthis, a direct challenge to international law and maritime security in the region.

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