Photo Credit: US Navy photo / public domain
Thousands of AK-47 assault rifles sit on the flight deck of guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans during an inventory process on Jan. 7, 2023. US naval forces seized 2,116 AK-47 assault rifles from a fishing vessel transiting along a maritime route from Iran to Yemen.

Thousands of Iranian assault rifles and advanced anti-tank missiles were seized two weeks ago by French naval forces from an Iranian smuggling vessel heading for Iran’s proxy in Yemen, the Houthi rebels.

The United States, United Kingdom and France have been working together to cut off Iran’s smuggling operations in the Gulf of Oman and other international waters.


International law and the United Nations Security Council ban the direct and/or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen. Nevertheless, Iran has been supplying its proxy in Yemen, the Houthi rebel group, with lethal aid for months even with a ceasefire intended to stop the bloodshed in the years-long Yemeni civil war.

The Iranian vessel, halted on January 15 by a French warship off the coast of Yemen, was boarded by French special forces who conducted a search operation.

The forces discovered 20 anti-tank precision guided missiles in addition to more than 3,000 assault rifles and half a million rounds of ammunition, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

American Navy forces on the USS Chinook seized more than 2,000 assault rifles and 50 tons of ammunition on January 6 from a fishing vessel being used to smuggle weapons to the Houthis with a crew of Yemeni nationals.

“This shipment is part of a continued pattern of destabilizing activity from Iran, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, US 5th Fleet and Combine Maritime Forces, told reporters at the time.

“These threats have our attention. We remain vigilant in detecting any maritime activity that impedes freedom of navigation or compromises regional security.”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.