The US Navy announced Wednesday it has seized a shipment of some 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles and more than 200,000 rounds of ammunition in the Arabian Sea.
The Navy’s 5th Fleet said in a statement that the stateless ship carrying the weapons had originated from Iran and was bound for Yemen, where Iran-backed Houthi rebels continue to fight for control of that country.
“The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons to the Houthis violates UN Security Council Resolutions and US sanctions,” the statement added.
The US naval forces regularly perform maritime security operations in the Middle East to ensure the free flow of legitimate trade and to disrupt the transport of illicit cargo that often funds terrorism and other unlawful activity, the statement said, adding they have seized approximately 8,700 illicit weapons in 2021.
In May, a Coast Guard vessel intercepted a shipment of Russian-made anti-tank missiles, Chinese Type 56 assault rifles, PKM machine guns, sniper rifles and RPG anti-tank rocket launchers in the Arabian Sea, according to the statement.
In February, guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) seized a cache of weapons off the coast of Somalia, including thousands of AK-47 assault rifles, light machine guns, heavy sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and crew served weapons, the statement added.
The US Navy is experimenting with unmanned vessels in the Persian Gulf region to help detect smuggling and other Iran-linked activities in Middle Eastern waters, the statement added.
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