The US Navy announced Sunday it seized an arms shipment of thousands of assault weapons, machine guns and sniper rifles hidden aboard a ship in the Arabian Sea, apparently to support the Houthi militias.
The seizure comes as the world power and Iran continue in their talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
An American defense official told The Associated Press that the Navy's initial investigation found the vessel came from Iran, again tying the country to arming the Houthis despite a United Nations arms embargo.
“Sailors found nearly 3,000 Chinese Type 56 assault rifles, a variant of the Kalashnikov. They recovered hundreds of other heavy machine guns and sniper rifles, as well as dozens of advanced, Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles. The shipments also included several hundred rocket-propelled grenade launchers and optical sights for weapons,” Asharq Al-Awsat reported late on Sunday.
Based on interviews with the crew and material examined on board, the sailors determined the vessel came from Iran, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.
“After all illicit cargo was removed, the dhow was assessed for seaworthiness, and after questioning, its crew was provided food and water before being released,” the Navy’s 5th Fleet said in a statement.