They were lost at sea during a seizure of Iranian weapons destined for the Houthis

Two United States Navy SEALs disappear in an operation near the coast of Somalia

The famous SEALs, the US Navy's special operations force, have been in the news again in recent hours.

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This Tuesday, the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) published a statement announcing that January 11, 2024, while While conducting a flag check, US naval forces carried out a nighttime seizure of a vessel illegally transporting advanced lethal aid from Iran to resupply Houthi forces in Yemen.

An infrared image of the boat assaulted by the Navy SEALs near the coast of Somalia (Photo: USCENTCOM).

CENTCOM notes that members of the US Navy SEALs, operating from the naval expeditionary base USS Lewis B Puller (ESB-3) and with support from helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), they executed a complex boarding of a vessel near the coast of Somalia in international waters of the Arabian Sea, seizing Iranian-made ballistic weapons. The seized weapons include anti-ship and cruise missile components.

The missile components seized by the US Navy in this operation (Photo: USCENTCOM).

"Seized items include propulsion, guidance, and warheads for Houthi medium range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) and anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), as well as air defense associated components. Initial analysis indicates these same weapons have been employed by the Houthis to threaten and attack innocent mariners on international merchant ships transiting in the Red Sea", USCENTCOM notes.

A piece of a missile of Iranian origin found by the Navy SEALs on the boarded ship (Photo: USCENTCOM).

This is the first operation to seize lethal advanced conventional weapons (ACW) supplied by Iran to the Houthis since the beginning of the attacks by these terrorists operating from Yemen against merchant ships in November 2023: "The interdiction also constitutes the first seizure of advanced Iranian-manufactured ballistic missile and cruise missile components by the U.S. Navy since November 2019. The direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of weapons to the Houthis in Yemen violates U.N. Security Resolution 2216 and international law", adds USCENTCOM.

An image of the boarded boat, a dhow type. We see several SEAL operators on board. The crew members are grouped at the bow of the boat (Photo: USCENTCOM).

Unfortunately, there have been casualties in this operation. General Michael Erik Kurilla, commander of USCENTCOM, has announced that two SEALs who were directly involved in this operation have been lost at sea. "We are conducting an exhaustive search for our missing teammates," General Kurilla reported.

Navy SEAL operators in an exercise in Poland in June 2023 (Photo: U.S. Navy).

Navy SEAL operations are often classified and their details are rarely known due to the sensitive nature of their missions. In this case, and given that the two SEAL operators would have been lost on the high seas, they will be considered missing until their bodies are found, if they have died.

A Navy SEAL on an exercise in Poland in June 2023 (Photo: U.S. Navy).

The Navy SEALs are one of the best special operations forces in the world. Formed within the US Navy and dependent on the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), they can carry out all types of operations in any environment (hence its name, acronym for Sea, Air and Land, in English).

Navy SEAL operators in an exercise in Croatia in April 2022 (Photo: U.S. Navy).

Its missions include counterterrorism, unconventional warfare, intelligence, hostage rescue and underwater demolition. The unit was founded in 1962 and had a very prominent participation in the Vietnam War. Among its most famous operations is the elimination of Osama Bin Laden, leader of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011.


Main photo: U.S. Navy. A Navy SEAL operator during an exercise in Poland in June 2023.

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