ADEN -- Security forces in southern Yemen have reportedly encountered explosives used by extremist groups that were manufactured in areas controlled by the Houthis, with Iranian expertise, Yemeni officials said.
This strongly suggests that Iran is using terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) to serve its agenda in Yemen, as it is doing with the Houthis, they said.
Forces backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been leading security campaigns in Shabwa and Abyan provinces to hunt down al-Qaeda elements.
The explosives that terrorist groups have used against the southern forces in Abyan and Shabwa provinces were manufactured in Houthi-controlled areas, Frontline Human Rights director Wedad al-Doh said in an August statement.
In a video report titled, "Killer under the sand", released in August, the rights group reveals that explosives and mines used by Iran's proxies in the Shabwa districts of Bihan, Usaylan and Ain are identical to those used by terror groups.
Southern forces in Abyan and Shabwa encountered these explosives and mines during security campaigns they are carrying out in pursuit of ISIS and al-Qaeda.
Al-Doh called on Yemen's Ministry of Human Rights to request that international human rights bodies send international analysts to examine the samples.
These analysts would help determine the extent of the link or relationship that exists between the Houthis and terror groups with regard to the use of these types of mines and explosives that target the lives of Yemeni civilians, she said.
Communication and co-ordination
The discovery of explosives in the possession of al-Qaeda similar to those manufactured by the Houthis indicates "communication and co-ordination" between them, said Deputy Minister of Legal Affairs and Human Rights Nabil Abdul Hafeez.
"Since the outbreak of the war, we have talked about Iranian technologies and expertise that are helping the Houthis produce these explosives and mines," he told Al-Mashareq.
This is in addition to the ready-made explosives and mines that come from Iran, Abdul Hafeez said, noting that it is no secret "that Iran is intervening militarily in Yemen and supporting the Houthis with money, weapons and experts".
The link between Iran and al-Qaeda has been previously noted in government reports submitted to the United Nations (UN), said Abdul Hafeez.
There is evidence that both groups use the same types of weapons, he said, and that they have shared intelligence.
Furthering Iran's agenda
"Every day exposes more co-ordination between the terrorist al-Qaeda group and the Houthi militia, confirming the existence of a partnership in the field between them," said Abaad Centre for Strategic Studies director Abdul Salam Mohammed.
This poses a serious threat to the future of the country, and gives terrorist groups an opportunity to gain power and control, he told Al-Mashareq.
The discovery of weapons in possession of al-Qaeda and ISIS that are clearly manufactured by the Houthis and Iran "indicates that a close link exists between the two sides", he said.
Other signs of co-operation between the Houthis and terror groups include the Houthis' release of a number of al-Qaeda detainees from its prisons, he said, "and its use of some al-Qaeda elements to train Houthi militias".
Recent incidents in Abyan and Shabwa confirm the correlation between the release of a number of al-Qaeda detainees from Houthi prisons and a spike in terrorist attacks and bombings, said Mohammed.
"Iran is involved in supporting terrorist groups in Yemen and is taking advantage of al-Qaeda and ISIS activity in the south to serve its agenda," said Deputy Minister of Justice Faisal al-Majeedi.