The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet said on Tuesday it had intercepted a fishing vessel smuggling “massive” amounts of explosive material while transiting from Iran along a route in the Gulf of Oman that has been used to traffic weapons to Yemen’s Houthi group.
A Saudi-led military coalition battling the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen since 2015 has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying the group with weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
“This was a massive amount of explosive material, enough to fuel more than a dozen medium-range ballistic missiles depending on the size,” said Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces.
“The unlawful transfer of lethal aid from Iran does not go unnoticed. It is irresponsible, dangerous and leads to violence and instability across the Middle East,” he added.
U.S. forces sank the ship on Sunday in the Gulf of Oman as it was a “hazard to navigation for commercial shipping” and its crew were handed over to the Yemen coast guard, it added.
Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Lincoln Feast.