On Tuesday, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) confirmed that U.S. Navy Forces seized a sailing ship on January 11 of advanced weapons from Iran paid for with money gifted by Joe Biden to the terrorist Houthis in Yemen.
“U.S. Navy SEALs operating from USS Lewis B Puller, supported by helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), executed a complex boarding of the dhow near the coast of Somalia in international waters of the Arabian Sea, seizing Iranian-made ballistic missile and cruise missiles components. 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.”
“The direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of weapons to the Houthis in Yemen violates U.N. Security Resolution 2216 and international law, that “two U.S. Navy SEALs previously reported as lost at sea were directly involved in this operation.”
“We are conducting an exhaustive search for our missing teammates.”
“It is clear that Iran continues shipment of advanced lethal aid to the Houthis. This is yet another example of how Iran actively sows instability throughout the region in direct violation of U.N. Security Resolution 2216 and international law. We will continue to work with regional and international partners to expose and interdict these efforts, and ultimately to reestablish freedom of navigation.”
The US Navy seized Iranian-made ballistic missile and cruise missile components from a vessel off the coast of Somalia last week that was destined for Houthis in Yemen, US Central Command announced on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, search and rescue operations remain underway for two SEALs that went overboard and are missing. One fell into the water due to eight-foot swells, and the second jumped in after them, according to protocol, a US official told CNN Saturday. “We are conducting an exhaustive search for our missing teammates,” said Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, the commander of CENTCOM.
The seizure comes amid increasingly high tensions between the US and Iranian proxies in the region. Last week, the US and UK militaries launched strikes against Houthi targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, marking a significant response after the Biden administration and its allies warned that the Iran-backed militant group would bear the consequences of its attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea.
The strikes were a sign of the growing international alarm over the threat to one of the world’s most critical waterways. For weeks, the US had sought to avoid direct strikes on Yemen because of the risk of escalation in a region already simmering with tension as the Israel-Hamas war continues, but the ongoing Houthi attacks on international shipping compelled the coalition to act.
The strikes destroyed less than a third of the Iranian proxy group’s overall offensive capabilities, a US official told CNN, with the group maintaining the majority of its ability to strike ships in the Red Sea.