U.S. military officials confirmed Thursday the seizure of more than 2,000 Iranian arms stockpiles that had been stashed on a mystery ship floating in international waters near the Gulf of Aden.
The seizure of the ship was first announced last week, but at the time Central Command officials said the origin of the weapons was unclear.
This afternoon, Centcom confirmed the USS Jason Dunham, a guided missile destroyer stationed in waters near the Persian Gulf, had discovered 2,521 AK-47 rifles "that plausibly derive from Iranian stockpiles, according to Conflict Armament."
The stateless skiff was first discovered floating in the Gulf of Aden on Aug. 28.
"As a part of our counter-trafficking mission, we are actively involved in searching for illegal weapons shipments of all kinds," Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, and the Combined Maritime Forces, said at the time. "Ensuring the free flow of commerce for legitimate traffic and countering malign actors at sea continue to be paramount to the U.S. Navy and its regional partners and allies."
The mystery ship "was determined to be stateless following a flag verification boarding, conducted in accordance with international law," according to U.S. military officials. "The origin and intended destination of the skiff have not yet been determined."
This is the fourth weapons seizure in the area since 2015.