Heading For Yemen.. Iranian Weapons Shipments Seized Off Coast Of Somalia

The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command announced on Tuesday that it had seized arms shipment on board two boats in international waters off the coast of Somalia.

“On February 12, the USS Winston Churchill frigate seized illegal shipments of weapons and weapons components on board two vehicles during a maritime security operation in international waters off the coast of Somalia,” this is what the U.S. 5th Fleet Command of the U.S. Navy Central Command tweeted official account.

“The seized weapons consist of thousands of AKA-47 assault rifles, light machine guns, heavy sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, as well as barrels, ammunition, sniper binoculars and weapons systems,” it added.

A footage released by the U.S. Navy showed a group of U.S. sailors inspecting one of the two sailing ships that were intercepted, while helicopters were flying overhead. Photos also showed new Kalashnikovs wrapped in plastic, and piles of rocket launchers.

In its tweet, the 5th U.S. Navy based in Bahrain has not specified the source of the smuggled weapons; however, a U.S. defense official said that indications show that the weapons were heading to Yemen via the Gulf of Aden, according to U.S media.

In the same context, Yemeni sources said the weapons were Iranian-made, and that the smugglers used forged documents to hide their identity.

It is noteworthy that the Yemeni Foreign Minister, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, said recently that the Houthi militia, with Iranian support, turned against the outcomes of the national dialogue in Yemen in 2012.

Awad bin Mubarak revealed in a televised interview that Yemeni authorities have monitored Iranian ships arriving fully loaded with weapons to support the Houthis.

“We have a lot of evidence of Iranian support for the Houthi militia,” Mubarak added.

Mubarak also called on Iran to respect neighboring countries and not to interfere in their affairs and to focus on their internal issues, denouncing the official Iranian statements that claim to control the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.

All publishing rights and copyrights reserved to MENA Research and Study Center