U.S. Forces Target Houthi Sites, Intercept Weapons Shipment Bound for Yemen

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-02-16 12:16 AM UTC


The presence of the components unmanned underwater/surface vehicles in the Iran-originated weapons shipment, which was lately captured in the Arabian Sea on the way to Yemen, is an attempt to arm the Houthis with mini-submarines, a military expert told Sheba Intelligence today.


The U.S. Central Command said Thursday that a U.S. Coast Guard ship deployed to the region "seized advanced conventional weapons and other lethal aid originating in Iran and bound to Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen from a vessel in the Arabian Sea on January 28."


The weapons and equipment that U.S. forces found onboard a ship that originated in Iran and was bound for Yemen's Houthis on January 28.


More than 200 packages of weaponry were found. According to CENTCOM, the packages contained "medium-range ballistic missile components, explosives, unmanned underwater/surface vehicle components, military-grade communication and network equipment, anti-tank guided missile launcher assemblies, and other military components."


CENTCOM indicated that it is "committed to working with our allies and partners to counter the flow of Iranian lethal aid in the region by all lawful means, including U.S. and U.N. sanctions and through interdictions." 


Last month, the U.S. Navy intercepted a dhow transporting advanced weapons to the Houthi group in Yemen. The seized items include propulsion, guidance, and warheads for Houthi medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs), anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), and air defense-related components.

A military expert told Sheba Intelligence that the weapon shipment captured by the U.S. Navy confirms that the buildup of the Houthi group's missile force is Iranian, particularly the medium-range and short-range ballistic missiles.

Smuggled weapons have contributed to strengthening the armed groups in Yemen, which has prolonged the war. The U.N. Panel of Experts on Yemen report, which covered the period from December 1, 2022, to August 31, 2023, documented several weapons smuggling attempts.

On January 17, the U.S. State Department designated the Houthis as specially designated global terrorists, or SDGTs, in an effort to deter further attacks against commercial ships traversing the Red Sea. The designation will take effect from today, February 16.


In the same vein, the United States continues launching airstrikes on sites controlled by the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group in Yemen as part of its effort to degrade the Houthi military capabilities.


 Today, Thursday, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement that yesterday it "successfully conducted four self-defense strikes against seven mobile anti-ship cruise missiles, three mobile unmanned aerial vehicles, and one explosive unmanned surface vessel in Houthi controlled areas of Yemen, that were prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea." 


The statement added, "CENTCOM identified these mobile missiles, UAVs, and USV in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined they presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region," it added. "These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy and merchant vessels." 


It has been over one month since the U.S. forces began striking Houthi sites in Yemen in response to the Yemeni group's attacks on shipping lanes in the Red Sea. The Houthis say their attacks are in retaliation to the Israeli war on Gaza.


The group said yesterday that the U.S. and U.K. have targeted Yemen with 403 airstrikes since January. "The total number of American and British airstrikes, both aerial and reconnaissance, and from warships since the beginning of the aggression on Yemen amounted to 403 airstrikes," Houthi spokesperson Dhaifallah Al-Shami said.