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Yemen seizes ship, arrests Iranian sailors

Yemen seizes ship, arrests Iranian sailors

Yemeni coast guards have seized a ship suspected of smuggling arms to the country's Shiite rebels and arrested six sailors on board, including five Iranians, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.
A ministry statement said the vessel was intercepted after illegally entering Yemeni territorial waters off the western coast.
The ship was escorted to a naval base on a nearby island and the sailors who were on board _ five Iranians and one Indian _ were being questioned, the statement said.
Yemeni authorities have recently stepped up accusations that Iran and Shiite communities across the Mideast are supporting Shiite rebels battling government troops in Yemen's northern Saada province. The rebels belong to the Zaidi branch of Islam's Shiite sect.
Tehran denies such claims and the Yemeni government has not provided any evidence to support its accusation.
The ministry gave no details about when the ship was seized but local media said Tuesday that a boat described as an Iranian vessel smuggling weapons was captured and its Iranian crew arrested. Government spokesman Hassan al-Lawzi confirmed the arrests but did not give details or say if weapons were seized. Iran's state media denied an Iranian ship had been seized in Yemen.
Yemen has been embroiled in a five-year conflict with Saada's Shiite rebels, who accuse authorities of neglecting their needs and of allying with hard-line Sunni fundamentalists.
Fighting has intensified since August, displacing tens of thousands of people and limited their access to humanitarian aid.


Updated : 2021-04-11 16:12 GMT+08:00