Missing U.S. Navy SEALs Declared Dead After Gulf of Aden Raid to Seize Iranian Weapons for Houthis

The elite special operations personnel were part of an operation conducted on January 11, aiming to seize Iranian weapons en route to Yemen's Houthi rebels.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 07:17 AM, January 22, 2024
  • 666
Missing U.S. Navy SEALs Declared Dead After Gulf of Aden Raid to Seize Iranian Weapons for Houthis
Houthi fighters @Houthi Media Cente

Two U.S. Navy SEALs who went missing at sea off the coast of Somalia have been declared dead after an exhaustive 10-day search failed to locate them.

The elite special operations personnel were part of an operation conducted on January 11, aiming to seize Iranian weapons en route to Yemen's Houthi rebels. Airborne and naval assets from U.S., allies reportedly searched more than 21,000 square miles for missing SEALs.

The operation, orchestrated by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), took place off the coast of Somalia. The SEALs, operating from the USS Lewis Puller, executed a complex night-time boarding of a dhow, ultimately confiscating missile components of Iranian origin. CENTCOM hailed this operation as a significant milestone, marking the first seizure of lethal, Iranian-supplied advanced conventional weapons destined for the Houthis since November 2023.

Tragically, during the mission, the SEALs went missing in the treacherous waters as they were conducting a "flag verification" of the intercepted dhow. According to U.S. reports, the SEALs approached the vessel in small special operations combat boats. One SEAL commando was knocked into the sea by a high wave during the boarding process, and another bravely dived in after him, adhering to protocol for such incidents.

The Houthis, who declared American and British interests as legitimate targets, had been targeting ships in the Red Sea since November 2023, purportedly in support of Palestinians in Gaza. In response, the U.S. and Britain conducted strikes on dozens of Houthi rebel targets. Despite these actions, the rebel group persisted in their attacks on ships, leading to a diversion of shipping routes around Africa and disrupting approximately 12% of global trade passing through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

As the recovery operations are underway, the U.S. military has expressed deep sorrow over the loss of the two Navy SEALs.

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