On board an unidentified ship…the US Navy confiscates a shipment of weapons in the Arabian Sea

The US Fifth Fleet said that two of its coastal patrol vessels seized last Monday an illegal arms shipment from a fishing vessel of unknown nationality during a flag verification operation in the northern Arabian Sea.

The fleet said in a statement yesterday, Wednesday, that the shipment consists of about 1,400 AK-47 rifles and more than 226,000 rounds of ammunition.

He added, “It was assessed that the stateless ship originated from Iran and that it crossed international waters through a route usually used to smuggle weapons illegally to the Houthis in Yemen.”

The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms to the Yemeni Houthi group is a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and US sanctions.

The US Navy said the ship’s five crew members, who said they were Yemeni, would be sent back to Yemen. He added that the US Navy sank the ship after transferring the crew and the illegal cargo.

The guided-missile cruiser Monterrey (CG61) confiscated dozens of advanced Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles, thousands of Chinese Type 56 rifles, hundreds of PKM machine guns, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers from an unidentified ship as it transited the northern Arabian Sea in last May.

A Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Iran-aligned Yemeni Houthi movement since early 2015, after the group ousted the internationally recognized government from Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia and Iran, regional rivals, began direct talks this year as world powers try to salvage a nuclear deal with Iran and UN-led efforts to end the war in Yemen falter.

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