AK47 DATE 11012023 CREDIT US Department of Defense.jpg
A total of 2,116 AK-47 assault were seized during the raid (Picture: US Department of Defense).
USA

US Navy seizes more than 2,000 AK-47 assault rifles in Gulf of Oman

AK47 DATE 11012023 CREDIT US Department of Defense.jpg
A total of 2,116 AK-47 assault were seized during the raid (Picture: US Department of Defense).

The US Navy has intercepted 2,116 AK-47 assault rifles which are believed to have come from Iran and been heading to Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

The US Department of Defense shared images of the captured AK-47 assault rifles, laid out on the flight deck of guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans.

The weapon haul was found after a team from the USS Chinook, a coastal patrol ship, boarded a traditional wooden sailing vessel, known as a dhow, in the Gulf of Oman.

They discovered the Kalashnikov rifles individually wrapped in green tarpaulin aboard the ship, said Timothy Hawkins, a spokesman for the Navy's Middle East-based 5th Fleet.

"When we intercepted the vessel, it was on a route historically used to traffic illicit cargo to the Houthis in Yemen," Mr Hawkins told the Associated Press. "The Yemeni crew corroborated the origin."

The Yemeni crew will be repatriated to a government-controlled part of Yemen, Mr Hawkins added.

A United Nations arms embargo has prohibited weapons transfers to the Houthis since 2014 when Yemen's civil war erupted.

Iran has long denied arming the Houthis even as it has been transferring rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, missiles and other weaponry to the Yemeni militia using sea routes.

Independent experts, Western nations and UN experts have traced components seized aboard other detained vessels back to Iran.