Vessels of the US Navy Fifth Fleet operating in the Middle East have intercepted and seized a stateless vessel carrying over 2,000 AK-47 assault rifles destined for Houthi rebels in Yemen, the US Department of Defense confirmed on Tuesday, January 10.
Brigadier General Pat Ryder, Pentagon Press Secretary, said the vessel was a dhow traversing a route that has been used in the past by Iran to send weapons illegally to the Houthis.
The interception occurred in international waters in the Middle East on January 6 when a US Navy boarding team from the patrol coastal ship USS Chinook initially discovered and seized the weapons with support from USS Monsoon and the guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans. The intercepted vessel was crewed by six Yemeni nationals.
The direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of weapons to the Houthis violates UN Security Council Resolution 2216 and international law. The transfer of the vessel and its crew for repatriation is in progress.
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