- The US Navy said Tuesday it had seized 2,116 “AK-47 assault rifles” from a sailboat near the Gulf of Oman.
- A US admiral accused Iran of trying to send the weapons to Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
- The Houthis seized Yemen’s capital in 2014, forcing out the country’s Saudi-backed government.
A modest wooden sailboat with six crew members was hiding more than 2,000 assault rifles destined for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the US government alleged Tuesday, claiming the weapons were sent by Iran.
In a statement, the US Navy said its service members on January 6 confiscated 2,116 “AK-47 assault rifles” after spotting the sailboat in international waters near the Gulf of Oman. The vessel had been sailing “on a route historically used to traffic illicit cargo to the Houthis,” the Navy said.
The US Navy did not share evidence linking the recent arms cache it uncovered to Iran. However, in a statement to the Associated Press, a Navy spokesperson asserted that the sailboat’s six Yemeni crew members “corroborated the origin” of their cargo.
The US Navy said it had seized more than 2,100 “AK-47” assault rifles.
In February 2022, the United Nations Security Council, including Russia, voted to extend an arms embargo on the Houthis, who for nearly a decade have been locked in a bitter war against the country’s internationally recognized government.
In late 2014, Houthi rebels seized the capital of Yemen. A civil war ensued, with Saudi Arabia, armed and supported by the United States, intervening against what it claimed was an Iranian-backed movement. Tens of thousands of people have since died in the conflict, many in Saudi-led airstrikes, although a relative peace — amid widespread hunger — has been enjoyed in recent months, despite the expiration last October of a ceasefire agreement.
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