US Navy Seals presumed dead after Houthi operation
Two US Navy Seals, who disappeared during an operation aimed at intercepting Iranian-made weaponry destined for the Houthis in Yemen, are now presumed deceased, as confirmed by the US military.
The incident occurred on January 11 when commandos were boarding a vessel off the Somali coast. According to reports, one Seal was swept away, and the second, following protocol, leaped in after them. The US Central Command has initiated efforts to recover the bodies.
Gen Michael Erik Kurilla, the head of Centcom, expressed condolences, stating, “We mourn the loss of our two Naval Special Warfare warriors, and we will forever honor their sacrifice and example.”
Over a span of ten days, air and naval units from the US, Japan, and Spain, aided by oceanographers and meteorologists, conducted an extensive search covering an area exceeding 21,000 square miles (54,389 square km) to locate the missing commandos.
Navy Seals, constituting a specialized maritime military force, are responsible for tasks such as reconnaissance and executing covert operations.
Centcom previously reported that the January 11 operation resulted in the seizure of warheads for Houthi ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles, along with components for air defense systems.
Initial analysis suggested that these components were linked to missiles used by the Iran-backed Houthis to target vessels navigating the Red Sea in recent incidents.
The supply, sale, and transfer of weapons to the Houthis is considered a violation of a 2015 United Nations Security Resolution, as well as international law.
Dozens of vessels have been targeted in the Houthi attacks, leading hundreds of cargo ships and tankers to be rerouted around the southern tip of Africa to avoid the strikes.
The Houthis, who support Hamas, say they are only targeting vessels with connections to Israel following the start of the war in Gaza. However, some of the ships they have hit have had no clear connection to Israel.
They have also begun attacking ships associated with the US and UK after both countries launched airstrikes against Houthi positions in Yemen in retaliation to the Red Sea attacks. The group controls the country’s north, capital Sanaa, and the Red Sea coastline.
Both the US and the UK say they are not seeking a conflict with the Houthis but are trying to protect the international trade route.