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Yemen claims seizure of Iranian weapons

SANAA, Yemen, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Yemeni intelligence officials claim they captured a vessel transporting Iranian-made weapons to the Shiite al-Houthi rebel group fighting government forces.

Ali Muhammad al Anisi, the head of the Yemeni intelligence agency, said information broadcast on Iran's al-Alam satellite news station and seized weapons point to Iranian support for the rebel group, Emirati newspaper The National reports.

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"Iran's radio and its al-Alam television satellite station have also been airing reports in support of the Houthis in addition to the Friday prayers sermons also expressing support for al Houthis," he said. "We have also intercepted a ship loaded with weapons which we believe originated from Iran."

Yemeni forces launched a major military operation targeting al-Houthi rebels in the north of the country in August. The government blames the rebel group for attempting to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region, with Saudi Arabia entering the fight on border concerns.

The Yemeni government said Tehran is backing the rebel group, though Iranian officials deny the allegations.

Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. assistance secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, said Washington has no evidence to suggest Iran is meddling in the conflict with al-Houthi rebels, the National reports.

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