Wednesday , 12 June 2024

Alarabiya -Iran spy ship provided intel on vessels transiting through Red Sea, US admiral says

alarabiya – Aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower: Iran, the main supplier of weapons to Yemen’s Houthis, has provided intelligence on maritime ships transiting through the Red Sea, a senior US military official said.

Washington has been conducting routine operations against Houthi capabilities since the group first attacked US ships last December, another official told Al Arabiya English aboard the Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the Red Sea.

The Iranian ship named the MV Behshad is in the Gulf of Aden, according to Rear Adm. Marc Miguez.

“We assess that that ship… has provided some sort of intelligence information on maritime ships,” said Miguez, who is the commander of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group.

Asked if and when the Iranian ship would become a legitimate US target, Miguez said: “I won’t go into specifics on that.”

Reports have suggested that the US has carried out cyber-attacks against Iranian targets, but officials have not publicly claimed a reported February cyber-attack on the Behshad.

But they have interdicted weapons shipments from Iran to the Houthis in Yemen on several occasions. The US military last announced an interdiction on Jan. 28 when it seized what it called advanced conventional weapons and other lethal aid originating in Iran and bound to Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

During a separate interdiction, two US Navy Seals went missing and were later declared dead following an operation to seize Iranian-made weapons bound for the Houthis.

Miguez highlighted the recent successes, while also pointing to “other things that I can’t go into” when asked about US efforts to stop the resupply route of weapons for the Houthis.

“So, there are capabilities that we have utilized through channels that I cannot talk about, but we’ve been successful in what we call breaking their [Iran’s] kill chain. And we’ve been able to execute some of those missions here lately. And it’s been impactful to them,” he said.

However, the problem with the Houthis’ resupply is that the US does not know how many weapons or how much capability the group acquired over the years, Miguez said. The US admiral added that the Iranians were also providing intel support, support for targeting as well as expertise on how to employ weapons Tehran has given the Houthis.

Ongoing Houthi attacks in the Red Sea

The Iran-backed Houthis began targeting ships in the Red Sea in November last year in what they say is a show of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

US officials have previously told Al Arabiya English that they will continue military strikes against the Yemeni group until they halt their attacks. The Houthis have said they will not stop unless a ceasefire is reached in Gaza.

The Houthis struck a US-owned bulk carrier last month, which later sank, damaging underwater internet cables in the Red Sea, according to US officials.

Another Houthi strike earlier this month killed at least three civilian sailors onboard a merchant ship. The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack on the Greek-owned, Barbados-flagged ship True Confidence. Other sailors were wounded in the attack.