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US navy seizes illegal weapons off Somali coast

MOGADISHU (SD) – The U.S navy on Tuesday said it confiscated two small ships carrying huge cache of weapons off coast Somalia.

In a statement, the US navy said its guided-missile destroyer the USS Winston S. Churchill seized illegal shipments of weapons and weapons components during a maritime security operation in international waters off Somalia’s coast.

The U.S. navy said that thousands of Kalashnikov-style rifles, light machine guns, heavy sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and crew-served weapons were by guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill in the Indian Ocean last week.

The operation which took place from Feb. 11-12 halted and searched the two ships for illicit cargo as part of the Navy’s routine maritime security patrol in the region.

“We are proud of the combined efforts of the AIT and Churchill crew members for executing dynamic and demanding boardings,” said Lieut. Travis Dopp, assistant AIT leader aboard the Churchill, referring to the Advanced Interdiction Team. “We are proud to have a positive impact on the safety and security of coalition forces by interdicting shipments of lethal aid.”

A short video released by the Navy appeared to show U.S. sailors inspecting one of the intercepted dhows, a traditional ship that commonly sails the waters of the Persian Gulf region, as helicopters circled overhead.

it is not yet clear the destination of the illegal shipments of weapons.

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