The U.S. Navy has intercepted a Yemeni ship believed to be carrying weapons for the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab from al-Qaida's Yemeni affiliate, the Mogadishu-based SunaTimes reported Monday.
Somali consul in Yemen Hussein Hajji Ahmed said that the U.S. Navy opened fire on the ship after it refused to follow orders to stop. The ship then surrendered. The ship is suspected of carrying military equipment for al-Shabaab, said Ahmed.
It is the second report this month from the Somali consul of weapons-filled Yemeni ships being stopped en route to Somali shoreline controlled by al-Shabaab.
In early August, Ahmed said that two ships suspected of carrying weapons for al-Shabaab were intercepted by the Yemeni government. The Yemeni government, however, was unable to intercept eight other ships, which Ahmed said he believes successfully reached al-Shabaab.
The news reinforces U.S. intelligence reports that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), considered by U.S. security officials to be al-Qaida's most dangerous arm, is aiding the Somali militants with weapons, fighters and training. Flash drives found in Osama bin Laden's Pakistan compound revealed an operational link between AQAP and al-Shabaab.
Concerns regarding collaboration between al-Shabaab and AQAP were also expressed during a recent House hearing held by Rep. Peter King, R.-N.Y. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an interview last Thursday that the relationship poses a great security threat.
Al-Shabaab "tries to work with" AQAP and another al-Qaida branch, said Clinton. "And so this then became a direct threat to us, not just a tragedy on the ground in Somalia, but a threat to not only the United States but the rest of the world."