US ‘acquired’ 2,116 Soviet AK-47 assault rifles in just a few hours

WASHINGTON — In just a few hours in the Gulf of Oman, the US Navy acquired 2,116 Soviet AK-47 assault rifles. The USS Chinook was patrolling the area and upon detaining a fishing boat, the weapon was discovered and seized. The fishing boat is believed to have traveled from Iran to Yemen.

US seized 2,116 Soviet AK-47 assault rifles in just a few hours
Photo credit: US Navy

AK-47 also known as Avtomat Kalashnikov is the most famous brand of assault rifle in the world. Created after the end of World War II, the AK-47 became a symbol of quality and precision. Approximately 75 million of the AK-47 model alone have been produced to date. A large part of this amount was produced during the Cold War and Iron Curtain eras. This assault rifle is so popular that it can be found in every single country in the world.

The confiscated 2,116 AK-47s were transported by six Yemeni nationals on the fishing boat. The US Navy says the route used by the Yemeni nationals is known in the area as a road map for arms and drug trafficking. The USS Chinook is working alongside the personnel of two other US warships in the area, the USS Monsoon, and the USS The Sullivans. They also participated in the operation to capture the traffickers and confiscate the weapons cargo.

Yemen Houthis

The US Navy suggests that the thousands of assault rifles were intended for the Yemeni Houthis. In addition to the civil war in Yemen, Arab coalitions joined by Saudi Arabia are waging war against Yemen’s Houthis. The UN has long classified this conflict as the cause of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. The war has been going on for eight years now.

It all started in 2014 when a coup was carried out in Yemen by the Houthis, who were born Shias from northern Yemen. The Houthis captured the capital, Sana’a, forcing the government to withdraw from the city and locate it in the city of Aden. The Houthis do not have control over Yemen, but that is their goal. Therefore, the Yemeni Houthis decided to focus their efforts on capturing southern Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and a coalition led by the United Arab Emirates have already intervened here. Saudi Arabia fears that if the Yemeni Houthis take control of the southern part of the country, they will have quick access to the coast of the Bab el Mandeb Strait. For Rabat, this is not just a corridor, but the most important oil corridor of the Saudi kingdom.

The seized AK-47 assault rifles are part of a US effort to prevent Yemen’s Houthis from growing in combat capability. If this happens, the area will not only be out of control but will also seriously affect the global economy. Iran is behind the idea of destabilizing this region.

US 5th Fleet

The US 5th Fleet is present in the Bilz East region, operating in conjunction with combined naval forces. The commander of this fleet, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, said that the seized 2,116 AK-47s were a result of continuous monitoring of the transportation sea lanes in the area and countering threats directed against free maritime navigation.

US 'acquired' 2,116 Soviet AK-47 assault rifles in just a few hours
Photo by David Tilton / Wikipedia

The capture of the fishing boat with the thousands of AK-47s is almost a monthly occurrence. In the past two months alone, the 5th Fleet has intercepted other shipments. It is about 50 tons of ammunition that were seized at the end of the year. Fuses and fuel for the Yemeni missiles, which are also supplied by Iran, were also loaded into the projectile.

In November, US warships in the area seized 70 tons of ammonium perchlorate, which is used to make missile and rocket fuel. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that at the end of December, Iranian military patrol boats came dangerously close to American warships. This happened in the Strait of Hormuz.

Also in the Strait of Hormuz, armed Iranian speedboats harassed a pair of U.S. warships for an hour over the summer, at one point attacking a U.S. ship head-on.

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