US envoy: Iranian and Hezbollah operatives in Yemen are aiding Houthi attacks on ships

US special envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, takes part in a conference hosted by the Gulf Cooperation Council in the Saudi capital Riyadh on March 30, 2022. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP)
US special envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, takes part in a conference hosted by the Gulf Cooperation Council in the Saudi capital Riyadh on March 30, 2022. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP)

WASHINGTON — Operatives from Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah are working inside Yemen to support Houthi insurgents’ attacks on international shipping, a US official says.

Tim Lenderking, the US special envoy for Yemen, tells a Senate subcommittee that Iran’s clerical state is “equipping and facilitating” the Houthi attacks, which have triggered retaliatory US and British strikes on Yemen.

“Credible public reports suggest a significant number of Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah operatives are supporting Houthi attacks from inside Yemen,” Lenderking says.

“I can’t imagine the Yemeni people want these Iranians in their country. This must stop,” he says.

The White House says in December that Iran was “deeply involved” in planning the attacks, which the Houthis say are acts of solidarity with the Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas war.

Lenderking, who has dealt with the Houthis since the start of US President Joe Biden’s administration as he helped diplomacy to freeze a brutal civil war, acknowledges that the rebels have not been deterred.

“The fact that they continue this, and have said publicly that they will not stop until there’s a ceasefire in Gaza, is an indication that we’re not yet at the point, unfortunately, where they do intend to dial back,” Lenderking says.

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