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A United Nations panel of experts has concluded that Yemen’s Houthi rebels are still being armed with ballistic missiles and drones that “show characteristics similar” to those made by Iran, according to reports.
AFP cited a confidential report to the UN Security Council as confirming the panel “continues to believe” ballistic missiles and other weapons are being transferred from Iran to Yemen despite a 2015 arms embargo.
Iran has denied any role in arming the Houthis despite claims to the contrary from the United States and Saudi Arabia, which continues to blame Iran for each missile attack it intercepts.
The kingdom has recorded more than 158 missiles and 42,924 projectiles launched at its territory since entering the Yemen civil war in 2015 through an Arab coalition backing forces loyal to ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against the Houthis.
Several deaths and injuries have been reported in the kingdom linked to the attacks, which have targeted Riyadh, Najran, Jazan and other major cities.
AFP said the 125-page report, based on inspections of debris from 10 missiles and other unmanned aerial vehicles in Saudi Arabia, found they showed “characteristics similar to weapons systems known to be produced in the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
“It seems that despite the targeted arms embargo, the Houthis continue to have access to ballistic missiles and UAVs to continue and possibly intensify their campaign against targets in KSA [Saudi Arabia],” one passage read.
The panel determined there was a “high probability” that the missiles were manufactured outside Yemen and shipped in parts to be reassembled.
It also noted converters produced by a Japanese company and Cyrillic markings on components.
Iran said in a letter to the panel that the missiles were a domestic upgrade of Scud projectiles that were part of Yemen’s arsenal before the war started.
The experts are also investigating claims that Iran has provided the Houthis with $30m of fuel each month. Iran has denied providing financial support.
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres told the council in a June report that some components of five missiles fired at Saudi Arabia were manufactured in Iran but officials could not determine when they were shipped to Yemen.
Yemen’s civil war is continuing with coalition forces in negotiations for the Houthis to withdraw from the port city of Hodeidah after beginning an assault last month.