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Report points to Iran arms 'pipeline' to Yemen

By AFP - Nov 30,2016 - Last updated at Nov 30,2016

RIYADH - International investigators have found a suspected "weapon pipeline" from Iran through Somalia to Yemen where Shiite rebels are battling the government, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of arming the Houthi rebels in Yemen, but Tehran denies the charges.

Since March last year Riyadh has led an Arab coalition fighting the Houthis and their allies in support of Yemen's internationally recognised president, Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, after the rebels overran much of the country.

The analysis by Conflict Armament Research (CAR) is based on the seizure in February and March this year of weapons from dhows, traditional sailing vessels, in the Arabian Sea.

British-based CAR, which is primarily funded by the European Union, analysed photographs of weapons confiscated from the dhows by the Australian warship HMAS Darwin and the French frigate FS Provence.

The ships were part of a joint international task force that operates separately from the Saudi coalition.

HMAS Darwin seized more than 2,000 weapons, including AK-type assault rifles and 100 Iranian-manufactured rocket launchers, from the dhow bound for Somalia, CAR said.

The seizure by FS Provence included 2,000 assault rifles "characteristic of Iranian manufacture" and 64 Hoshdar-M Iranian-made sniper rifles, all of which were in new condition, CAR said.

There were also nine Russian-made Kornet anti-tank guided missiles, it said.

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