A ship seized by Yemeni authorities last month carried a wide variety of Iranian-made weapons, Yemen’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
They included material for bombs and suicide belts, explosives, Katyusha rockets, surface-to-air missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and large amounts of ammunition.
In a statement, the ministry detailed contents of the Iranian ship seized in Yemen’s territorial waters in mid-January. It described contents as “large, diverse and dangerous” weapons that also included night vision binoculars and goggles, remote devices, circuits, wires and rifle silencers.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, “this is obviously extremely troubling.” She added, “we commend the Yemenis on their interdiction’s success.”
The Yemeni news agency reported that Yemen’s coast guard intercepted the ship in an operation coordinated with the U.S. Navy. It said that the vessel’s eight crew members were Yemenis.
Yemen has recently witnessed several cases of illegal arms shipments through its porous shores on the Red and Arabian seas.
Yemen is home to an active branch of al-Qaida, which staged several failed or foiled attacks on U.S. territory over the past several years. Washington considers al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula as the terror group’s most dangerous branch.