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US Coast Guard intercepts ballistic missile, anti-tank shipment in Arabian Sea

US military forces have intercepted a shipment of ballistic missile components, anti-tank weaponry, and unmanned vehicle equipment in the Middle East.

US military forces have intercepted a shipment of ballistic missile components, anti-tank weaponry, and unmanned vehicle equipment in the Middle East.

US Coast Guard Sentinel Class fast-response cutter USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr (WPC 1147), assigned to US Naval Forces Central Command, located and boarded a vessel in the Arabian Sea on 28 January, according to a statement from the US Central Command (CENTCOM).

The boarding team reportedly discovered more than 200 packages that 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.

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CENTCOM commander General Michael Erik Kurilla said seized advanced conventional weapons and other lethal aid originated in Iran and were bound to Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

“This is yet another example of Iran’s malign activity in the region,” GEN Kurilla said.

“Their continued supply of advanced conventional weapons to the Houthis is in direct violation of international law and continues to undermine the safety of international shipping and the free flow of commerce.”

The US Central Command is committed to working with US allies and partners to counter the flow of Iranian lethal aid in the region by all lawful means including US and UN sanctions and through interdictions, according to the CENTCOM statement.

The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of such aid violates UN Security Council Resolution 2216 (as extended and renewed by resolutions 2675 and 2707).

The United States and the United Kingdom militaries continue to conduct aircraft and missile strikes against military targets in Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen and Iranian-backed groups in Iraq. Support is being provided by Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands.

Three facilities used by the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group and other Iran-affiliated groups in Iraq were struck earlier this year on 22 January, according to a 23 January statement from US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III.

Houthi targets include underground storage sites, missile and air surveillance locations, in a joint strike campaign originally launched on 11 January against command-and-control nodes, munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defence radar systems.

The strikes are being conducted in response to escalatory attacks against US and Coalition personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias, including a one-way unmanned aerial vehicle attack against a US logistics support base in north-east Jordan. Three US service members were killed and at least 34 personnel injured after that unmanned aerial vehicle attack near the Syrian border on 28 January.

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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