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Iran rejects claims of sending arms to Yemen

The Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out air raids on Houthi rebels since March [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 October, 2015

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Allegations that the Saudi-led coalition seized an Iranian fishing boat loaded with weapons that was heading to Yemen has been rejected as 'propaganda' by Iran.

Iran rejected as "propaganda" on Thursday claims that a seized fishing boat loaded with weapons heading to Yemen was Iranian, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The Saudi-led coalition said on Wednesday that it had seized an Iranian fishing boat in the Arabian Sea loaded with weapons and destined for Shia rebels it is fighting in Yemen.

A coalition statement said 14 Iranians as well as weapons including anti-tank shells were found on board, and that the boat's papers showed it was registered and licenced for fishing in Iran.

"Clearly these accusations and propaganda are psychological warfare and baseless," a foreign ministry source told IRNA.

"After the scandalous Mina tragedy, the coalition forces have resorted to a worn out and repetitious scenario," the source said, adding that Yemeni rebels don't need Iranian arms.

He was referring to this year's deadly hajj stampede, which killed 464 Iranian pilgrims and which Tehran has blamed on Saudi's "incompetence and mismanagement".

Saudi Arabia and its coalition allies have repeatedly accused their Shia rival Iran of arming the Houthi rebels who control swathes of Yemen, including the capital.

Aid workers killed

It comes after two Red Crescent volunteers were killed in an airstrike south of Yemen's capital, the Red Cross said Wednesday, as military sources said government forces expelled rebels from Marib dam to the east.

Qaed Faisal, 28, and Omar Fareh, 31, died along with several other civilians in a raid Monday in al-Swaida area of Taez province, said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

It noted in a statement that the attack took place on the same day that more than 130 people were killed in a reported airstrike on a wedding hall near Mokha on the Red Sea.

Riyadh has denied that a Saudi-led coalition which since March has been carrying out air raids on Houthi rebels in Yemen carried out the attack on the wedding.

"Indiscriminate airstrikes and shelling have been going on in many parts of Yemen for more than six months, causing huge suffering to the civilian population," the ICRC said.

Fuad al-Makhazy, secretary general of the Yemen Red Crescent Society, said eight of his staff and volunteers have now been killed.

Two Red Cross workers were gunned down in late August in rebel-held Amran province, north of Sanaa, in an attack which prompted the ICRC to suspend its operations in Yemen.

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