Arab coalition: Weapons smuggled to Yemen's rebels come from Lebanon's Hezbollah stronghold

French foreign minister said on Thursday that Iran was in fact sending weapons to the rebels in Yemen

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2017, file photo, newly recruited Shiite fighters, known as Houthis, mobilize to fight pro-government forces, in Sanaa, Yemen. Roadside bombs disguised as rocks in Yemen bear similarities to others used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and by insurgents in Iraq and Bahrain, suggesting at the least an Iranian influence in their manufacturing, a report released Monday, March 26, 2018, by Conflict Armament Research alleges. The report comes comes as the West and United Nations researchers accuse Iran of supplying arms to  Houthis, who have held the country’s capital since September 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)
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The Arab coalition said on Thursday that weapons sent to Houthi rebels in Yemen are smuggled from Lebanon’s southern suburb of Beirut — a stronghold of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group.

“The smuggling of the weapons did not start in Iran. It started in the suburbs of Beirut and goes all the way to Syria, it goes to Iran and through the sea it comes to … Yemen,” Col Al Malki told CNN.

“We are talking about Al Hodeidah port, it became the main point for smuggling missiles and other [weapons].

“The American navy, the Australian navy and the French have seized shipments on international waters … headed to the Houthi rebels.”

Col Al Malki reiterated that Iran was violating international law and UN resolutions by sending weapons to the rebels, adding that the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen on behalf of the internationally recognised government has repeatedly presented evidence of Tehran’s involvement in war.

“We’re not talks about an allegation here, we’re talking about physical evidence we are showing the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, the French foreign minister said on Thursday that Iran was in fact sending weapons to the rebels in Yemen.

“There is a problem in Yemen, it is that the political process has not begun, that Saudi Arabia feels regularly attacked by the Houthis, who are themselves supplied with arms by Iran,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio.


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Saudi Arabia is leading the Arab coalition — which includes the UAE — that is fighting the rebels at the request of Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

The coalition threatened on Monday to retaliate against Iran, accusing it of being behind dozens of missiles — all of which have been intercepted — aimed at Saudi Arabia since last year.

Iran continues to deny that it arms the Yemeni rebels, despite evidence presented by the US and Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council condemned the missile attacks against Saudi Arabia, expressing concern at reports of violations of a UN arms embargo on Houthi leaders.

Saudi forces on Sunday night intercepted seven missiles towards different cities, including the capital of Riyadh. One Egyptian man died when burning shrapnel struck his room in the capital.

The Yemen war was triggered when the Houthis seized the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in September 2014 and later advanced south, taking large swathes of the country.

After entering the war at the request of Mr Hadi on March 26, 2015, the Saudi-led coalition has helped pro-government forces to retake much of the territory captured by the rebels. However, Sanaa remains under rebel control.

The UN says living conditions in the war-scarred country have reached catastrophic levels and that 8.4 million people face imminent famine.