US Navy Seizes Iranian Rockets and Rifles Headed to Yemen

Justin Holcomb
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Posted: Apr 04, 2016 1:50 PM
US Navy Seizes Iranian Rockets and Rifles Headed to Yemen

The U.S. has seized an enormous shipment of arms, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, headed from Iran to Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to Stars and Stripes.  The shipment included 1,500 AK-47s, 200 RPG launchers and 21 .50-caliber machine guns. 

Iran backs the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are fighting the established government, which is backed by Iran's heated rival Saudi Arabia. 

It was the third seizure of weapons by international naval forces in the Arabian Sea in a month, U.S. 5th Fleet said in a statement.  Each time, the weapons originated in Iran.

Last year, the U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo against the Houthis. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have repeatedly accused Iran of flouting the ban but Tehran denies the report.  

The coastal patrol ship USS Sirocco “intercepted and seized” a cache of weapons March 28th in a “small, stateless dhow,” 5th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Kevin Stephens said in a statement. 

The U.S. is not the only country to catch Iran running guns throughout the Arabian Peninsula. The French navy destroyer FS Provence seized a shipment of arms that included nearly 2,000 AK-47s, 64 Dragunov sniper rifles and nine anti-tank missiles and the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Darwin intercepted a dhow on February 27 carrying a similar cache of arms.

Once again, the Middle East proves to be a deadly game of who's who.