WORLD NEWS

US Navy Seizes Weapons In Arabian Sea Likely Bound For Yemen

May 10, 2021, 12:03 PM
Thousands of illicit weapons interdicted by guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) from a stat...
Thousands of illicit weapons interdicted by guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) from a stateless dhow in international waters of the North Arabian Sea, May 8, 2021. Maritime security operations, as conducted by the U.S. Fifth Fleet, entail routine patrols to determine pattern of life in the maritime as well as to enhance mariner-to-mariner relations. These operations reassure allies and partners and preserve freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce. (U.S. Navy)
(U.S. Navy)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The U.S. 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 bound for Yemen to support the country’s Houthi rebels.

An American defense official told The Associated Press that the Navy’s initial investigation found the vessel came from Iran, again tying the Islamic Republic to arming the Houthis despite a United Nations arms embargo. Iran’s mission to the U.N. did not immediately respond to a request for comment, though Tehran has denied in the past giving the rebels weapons.

The seizure, one of several amid the yearslong war in Yemen, comes as the U.S. and others try to end a conflict that spawned one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. The arms shipment, described as sizeable, shows that the war may still have far to run.

The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey discovered the weapons aboard what the Navy described as a stateless dhow, a traditional Mideast sailing ship, in an operation that began Thursday in the northern reaches of the Arabian Sea off Oman and Pakistan. Sailors boarded the vessel and found the weapons, most wrapped in green plastic, below deck.

When laid out on the deck of the Monterey, the scale of the find came into focus. 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.

The Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet did not identify where the weapons originated, nor where they were going. However, an American defense official said the weapons resembled those of other shipments interdicted bounded for the Houthis.

Based on interviews with the crew and material investigated 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 5th Fleet said in a statement.

The seizure marks just the latest in the Arabian Sea or Gulf of Aden involving weapons likely bound to Yemen. The seizures began in 2016 and have continued intermittently throughout the war, which has seen the Houthis fire ballistic missiles and use drones later linked to Iran. Yemen is awash with small arms that have been smuggled into poorly controlled ports over years of conflict.

This recent seizure appeared to be among the biggest. Tim Michetti, an investigative researcher who studies the illicit weapon trade, also said the shipment bore similarities to the others.

“The unique blend of materiel recovered by the USS Monterey appears to be consistent with the materiel from previous interdictions, which have been linked to Iran,” he said.

Yemen’s war began in September 2014, when the Houthis seized Sanaa and began a march south to try to seize the entire country. Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and other countries, entered the war alongside Yemen’s internationally recognized government in March 2015. Iran backed the Houthis, who harass Saudi Arabia with missile fire and drone attacks.

The war has killed some 130,000 people, including over 13,000 civilians slain in targeted attacks, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Project.

The war has seen atrocities from all sides. Saudi airstrikes using American-made bombs killed school children and civiliansThe UAE paid off local al-Qaida fighters to avoid fighting and controlled prisons where torture and sexual abuse was rampantThe Houthis employ child soldiers and indiscriminately lay landmines.

Since 2015, the U.N. Security Council has imposed an arms embargo on the Houthis. Despite that, U.N. experts warn “an increasing body of evidence suggests that individuals or entities in the Islamic Republic of Iran supply significant volumes of weapons and components to the Houthis.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

Arema football club supporters light candles as they pray for the victims on October 02, 2022 in Ma...
Masrur Jamaluddin, Heather Chen, Raja Razek, Jake Kwon and Kareem El Damanhoury, CNN

At least 130 killed in Indonesia soccer stadium stampede

Arema football club supporters light candles as they pray for the victims on October 02, 2022 in Malang, Indonesia. A stampede for the exits after tear gas was released has resulted in at least 170, media reports said, with many still injured in hospitals.
23 hours ago
The crowd gathering at Washington Square to march to the Utah Capitol....
Brittany Tait

Crowd marched to Utah State Capitol in solidary with Iran

A large crowd marched from Washington Square to the steps of the Utah State Capitol on Saturday to show solidarity for those suffering in Iran.
2 days ago
The thousand-year-old manuscript has been returned to its home at the Kosinitza Monastery in Drama,...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

Stolen in 1917, this 1,000-year-old manuscript was just returned to its rightful owners

A 1,000-year-old manuscript looted during World War I has been returned to the Greek monastery from where it was stolen more than a century ago.
2 days ago
Women hold signs and chant slogans during a protest over the death of Iranian Mahsa Amini outside t...
Ashley Moser

Sandy woman can’t get in touch with family in Iran after country blocks internet

Eida, an Iranian-American from Utah, said watching what is happening to her family thousands of miles away in Iran is difficult, especially because she cannot reach them. 
3 days ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a reception to celebrate the Jewish New Year with ...
MATTHEW LEE, FATIMA HUSSEIN and AAMER MADHANI, Associated Press

Biden vows Russia won’t ‘get away with’ Ukraine annexation

The United States and its allies are hitting back at Russia’s annexation of four more Ukrainian regions, slapping sanctions on more than 1,000 Russian individuals and companies.
3 days ago
President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks during the 77th session of the United Nations General Ass...
Fatima Hussein, Associated Press

US hits Russia with sanctions for annexing Ukrainian regions

The U.S. has sanctioned more than 1,000 people and firms connected to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including its Central Bank governor and families of Security Council members.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
US Navy Seizes Weapons In Arabian Sea Likely Bound For Yemen