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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Iran embassy in Yemen transformed into rebel training grounds

The ministry of foreign affairs confirmed reports of the embassy being used as an Iranian military facility

Iran is being accused of training newly recruited Shiite fighters, known as Houthis, in their embassy in Yemen.  Hani Mohammed / AP
Iran is being accused of training newly recruited Shiite fighters, known as Houthis, in their embassy in Yemen. Hani Mohammed / AP

Iran has transformed its embassy in Yemen into a military base, the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.

The ministry condemned the move saying that Iran’s interference had become the main source of instability in the Arab world’s poorest nation.

“Iran has made its embassy into a military facility and training grounds for the rebel militias. Iranian military consultants hold meetings in the building with rebel groups,” said a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to local media reports, the embassy is being used as a weapons cache and meeting grounds for Iranian military training consultants.

The internationally-recognised government of Abdrabu Mansur Hadi, supported by the Arab Coalition, issued a statement reminding Iran of Yemen's demand that Tehran end its diplomatic presence in the country.

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The United States condemned an attack by Houthi militias targeting an airport in the southwestern city of Abha on Wednesday.

"The Houthis’ continued attacks on Saudi population centres calls into question their commitment to helping shape a peaceful, prosperous, and secure future for Yemen,” said Heather Nauert, the US Department of State Spokesperson.

The missiles were fired just hours after President Donald Trump suggested the US would strike Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, whose forces are backed by Russia and Iran, over a suspected chemical weapons attack.

Saudi forces were able to intercept the two drones launched by the Houthis. The rebels said the attack was directed at the Saudi defence ministry.

The Department of State said the Houthi attacks on Saudi population centres were “fuelled by the Iranian regime’s dangerous proliferation of weapons and destabilising activities in the region.”

“It’s hard to see the timing of the latest Houthi strike on Saudi Arabia as purely coincidental,” said Hani Sabra, founder of Advisory, a New York-based consultancy.

The attack is probably an Iranian message to embarrass Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is wrapping up a foreign tour to world capitals and has repeatedly accused Iran of seeking to destabilise the kingdom, he said.