According to a Navy official, the U.S. Navy confiscated more than 2,100 assault rifles from a ship in the Gulf of Oman that it suspects was headed for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, supported by Iran.
The most recent weapon seizure was supposedly on its way to the most underdeveloped Arab nation.
The USS Chinook, a Cyclone-class coastal patrol boat, sent a team to board a dhow, a traditional wooden sailing vessel, which led to the capture last Friday.
According to Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, a spokesman for the Navy’s 5th Fleet stationed in the Middle East, discovered the Kalashnikov-style guns individually wrapped in green tarps on board the ship.
The guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans, the patrol boat USS Monsoon, and the Chinook seized control of the armaments.
They resembled other assault rifles that the Navy had previously detained and were thought to be coming from Iran and headed for Yemen.
According to Hawkins, the vessel was traveling along a previously utilized route to transport illegal goods to the Houthis in Yemen. “The Yemeni crew verified the source.”
Hawkins stated that the Yemeni crew would be returned to a region of Yemen under the jurisdiction of the government.
Since the start of the Yemeni civil war in 2014, a United Nations arms embargo has prevented the delivery of weapons to the Houthis.
Although it has been sending guns, rocket-propelled grenades, missiles, and other weapons to the Yemeni militia via naval routes, Iran has long denied arming the Houthis.
Western countries, independent experts, and the U.N. Components found on other impounded ships have been linked to Iran by researchers.
The Iranian representative did not immediately answer the UN’s request for comment on Tuesday.
In September 2014, the Houthis took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and drove the internationally recognized government into exile.
In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition that supported Yemen’s exiled government equipped with American weapons and intelligence entered the conflict.
The poorest country in the Arab world is on the verge of famine due to years of fruitless fighting.
— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) January 10, 2023