Riyadh (Reuters) – Britain’s Royal Navy said on Thursday that one of its warships had seized Iranian weapons, including air-missile and cruise missile engines, from surface smugglers in international waters south of Iran earlier this year.
A helicopter of the HMS Montrose frigate spotted speedboats off the coast of Iran on January 28 and February 25 and seized dozens of packages, including advanced weapons, the Royal Navy said in a statement.
The statement added, “The seized packages have been returned to the UK for technical analysis which revealed that the shipment contained 351 land attack cruise missiles for Iran and 358 surface-to-air missile multiple rocket engines.”
The British statement did not say where the missiles landed, but said 351 cruise missiles, with a range of 1,000 kilometers, were often used by the Houthi group in Yemen to target Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The Iranian government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Huthi officials were not immediately available for comment.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have been at war with Iran-backed Houthis since 2015, a dispute widely seen as a proxy war between the two Western-backed Arab Gulf states and Iran.
The USS Gridley, a destroyer of the U.S. Navy, supported the February seizure, the Royal Navy said. Both seizures occurred when HMS Montrose was in routine maritime security operations, it added.
(Reporting by Jonathan Land and Parisa Hafezi, by Aziz L. Jacobi)
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