US Navy seizes weapons likely headed from Iran to Yemen

A United States patrol ship has seized thousands of weapons from a ship in the Arabian Sea believed to be headed from Iran to war-torn Yemen, the Navy announced Monday.


The USS Sirocco intercepted an unregistered dhow, a small ship typically used in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, on March 28.

Hidden in the dhow, the Navy said, was a shipment of weapons, including 1,500 AK-47 assault rifles, 200 rocket-propelled grenade launchers (RPGs) and 21 .50-caliber machine guns.

The ship and its crew were allowed to depart once the weapons were seized, according to the statement, which added that the weapons are now in U.S. custody awaiting final disposition.

The weapons were likely bound for Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Navy said. The Houthi are backed by Iran, where the United States assessed the weapons originated.

Last week’s seizure was the third in recent weeks, according to the Navy. In late February, the Australian navy confiscated nearly 2,000 AK-47s, 100 RPGs, 49 PKM general-purpose machine guns, 39 PKM spare barrels and 20 60mm mortar tubes from a dhow.

And on March 20, a French navy destroyer seized almost 2,000 AK-47s, 64 Dragunov sniper rifles, nine anti-tank missiles and other associated equipment, according to the statement.