US troops seized a cache of Iranian-made weapons from a boat in the Arabian Sea, US officials said. The shipment, likely headed to Yemen, included anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and other "advanced weapons parts."
Navy personnel serving on the US cruiser Normandy uncovered a shipment of weapons aboard of a sailboat in the Arabian Sea after boarding the vessel "in accordance with international law," the US Central Command said on Thursday.
The US published a short black and white video which showed a US navy boat approaching the vessel and troops beginning to board without apparent resistance.
"The weapons seized include 150 'Dehlavieh' anti-tank guided missiles," which are "Iranian-manufactured copies" of similar Russian-made weapons, US officials said. Other weapons allegedly included Iranian-made surface-to-air missiles, thermal imaging scopes, ammunition as well as "Iranian components for unmanned aerial and surface vessels."
The US officials did not say where the vessel was headed before the Sunday raid.
However, they noted that many of the seized weapons were "identical" to those seized in a raid by a different US warship, the USS Forrest Sherman, in the Arabian Sea in November.
"Those weapons were determined to be of Iranian origin and assessed to be destined for the Houthis in Yemen," the US Central Command said.
Iran is widely believed to be supporting Shiite Houthi rebels fighting against the Saudi-backed government in Yemen. A UN resolution bans Iran from selling weapons outside the country without previous authorization, and a separate UN document also bans supplying weapons to Houthi leaders.
dj/sms (Reuters, dpa)