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Updated January 16th, 2024 at 20:43 IST

US Navy Seizes Iranian Weapons Bound for Yemen, Two SEALs Missing After Raid

The seized weapons included crucial components for Houthi medium-range ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles, alongside air defense equipment.

Sagar Kar
Houthi
Representative image. | Image:AP
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In a dramatic turn of events, the US Navy seized a trove of Iranian-made weapons destined for Yemen's Houthi rebels during a daring raid last week. However, the victory comes with a heavy price: two Navy SEALs involved in the operation are currently missing at sea.

The raid, conducted near the Somali coast in international waters on Thursday, netted "Iranian-made ballistic missile and cruise missile components," according to a statement from US Central Command. This marks the first seizure of such high-tech weaponry since Houthi rebels began attacking merchant ships in the Red Sea last November, as per a report from The Guardian.

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Here is what you need to know

General Michael Kurilla, head of US Central Command, confirmed the ongoing search for the two missing SEALs: "An exhaustive search is still under way, and we are holding out hope for their safe return."

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The seized weapons included crucial components for Houthi medium-range ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles, alongside air defense equipment. Initial analysis suggests these very weapons have been used by the Houthis to threaten and attack commercial ships navigating the Red Sea.

The weapons haul was found aboard a traditional dhow sailing vessel, along with 14 crew members whose fate remains uncertain. Adhering to international law, authorities are currently determining the crew's disposition. As the seized vessel was deemed unsafe, it was ultimately sunk.

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This operation coincides with a fresh attack on a Greek-owned cargo ship off the Yemeni coast, highlighting the ongoing maritime threat posed by the Houthis in the Red Sea.

The US Navy's seizure of Iranian weaponry and the ongoing search for the missing SEALs underscore the complexities and potential dangers of international operations in volatile regions. While the operation dealt a blow to Houthi capabilities, the missing SEALs serve as a stark reminder of the human cost involved in such endeavors.

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Published January 16th, 2024 at 20:43 IST

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