Control of the Red Sea Bab el-Mandeb Straits passed Tuesday, March 31 to pro-Iranian Yemeni forces when the Yemeni Army’s 117th Brigade loyal to the former Yemeni President Ali Saleh handed positions guarding the waterway to two Houthi commando battalions trained by Iranian Revolutionary Guards. This is revealed by debkafile’s military and intelligence sources.
In another development Tuesday involving Iran’s spreading tentacles, debkafile’s military sources reveal that unidentified aircraft bombed Burak, a small military base in the Fezzan province of southwestern Libya, which serves Iran as a transit store for arms purchased in Sudan for the Palestinian Hamas.
The weapons, which recently reached the Libyan base through Chad, were destroyed. They were scheduled to be smuggled through Egypt and Sinai and onto Gaza. Western military sources attributed responsibility for the bombardment to the Egyptian or Israeli air forces. Both Israel and Egypt have declined to comment on the report.
To strengthen Iran’s grip on the key Red Sea gateway, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered two naval task forces to sail to the Red Sea. They are to fend off a Saudi-Egyptian offensive to dislodge the Houthi battalions now holding a point linking the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.
The naval task forces are being sent to draw a sea shield around the Houthi forces to defend them against Saudi-Egyptian assaults. This maneuver was orchestrated by the Al Qods Brigades chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Our sources report that the 33rd task force set out on its mission Tuesday night from the Gulf port of Bandar Abbas.