Two members of the Navy SEALs who have been reported missing final week off the coast of Somalia have been a part of a nighttime commando operation that seized a small boat carrying deadly support from Iran to the Houthi militia in Yemen, the U.S. army stated on Tuesday.

Navy commandos, backed by helicopters and drones hovering overhead, boarded the small boat, known as a dhow, on Thursday and seized Iranian-made ballistic-missile and cruise-missile parts certain for Yemen, the Pentagon’s Central Command stated in an announcement.

The seized objects included propulsion and steerage methods and warheads for Houthi medium-range ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles, in addition to air-defense parts, the assertion stated. Such weapons transfers to the Houthis violate worldwide regulation and a United Nations Safety Council decision, the army stated.

“Preliminary evaluation signifies these identical weapons have been employed by the Houthis to threaten and assault harmless mariners on worldwide service provider ships transiting within the Pink Sea,” the assertion stated.

The Navy boarding was the primary seizure by U.S. forces of Iran-supplied weapons to the Houthis because the Iran-backed militants launched the first of more than 30 attacks in November in opposition to business vessels working within the Pink Sea and close by waters. It was additionally the primary seizure of superior Iranian-made ballistic missile and cruise missile parts by the Navy since November 2019.

The Houthi militia launched a new round of attacks in transport lanes vital for international commerce over the weekend, damaging a U.S.-owned business ship on Monday after making an attempt to hit an American warship the day earlier than.

The strikes got here simply days after the U.S. and British militaries unleashed a robust barrage on militant websites in Yemen, and the Houthi response made clear how troublesome it’d show to take away the risk posed to transport in and across the Pink Sea.

After Thursday’s boarding operation, the Navy deemed the dhow unsafe and sank the vessel. Its 14 crew members have been taken aboard a Navy ship, in line with the army’s assertion.

Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, the top of the Central Command, stated that the search continued for the 2 members of the SEALs, working from the expeditionary vessel Lewis B. Fuller, who have been reported misplaced within the boarding mission.

As the 2 commandos tried to board the dhow Thursday night time in tough seas, one of many males apparently slipped off the boarding ladder or was swept off by a excessive wave, in line with one present and one former Pentagon official who have been briefed on the incident. One other member of the crew then jumped into the water to attempt to rescue the sailor, the officers stated. Each quickly disappeared within the swells.

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