The U.S. Navy says that it seized advanced weapons and weapon components believed to be of Iranian “design and manufacture” intended for Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The weapons cache, including more than 150 Dehlavieh anti-tank guided missiles and three Iranian surface-to-air missiles, were seized in the Arabian Sea aboard a stateless dhow sailing vessel during a maritime interdiction operation on February 9.
“Other weapons components seized aboard the dhow were of Iranian design and manufacture and included three Iranian surface-to-air missiles, Iranian thermal-imaging weapon scopes, and Iranian components for unmanned aerial and surface vessels” the February 13 statement said.
It did not say what kind of surface-to-air missiles were seized.
The statement noted that many of the munitions seized over the weekend by the USS Normandy guided-missile cruiser were similar to weapons and components seized in November by the crew of the USS Forrest Sherman guided-missile destroyer.
The weapons seized in November were determined to be destined for Houthis, according to the U.S. military. The Iran-backed Houthis have been fighting Saudi Arabia’s forces in Yemen for five years.
The rebels have used drones and surface vessels to attack Saudi forces in the past, using equipment that U.S. military experts say comes from Iran.
The shipment of weapons seized over the weekend would violate a UN Security Council resolution prohibiting the “direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of weapons to the Houthis,” the statement said.