Two Navy SEALs who went missing at sea earlier this month off the coast of Somalia are now presumed dead after a 10-day search comes to an end, U.S. military officials said.
After a nighttime raid of an Iranian ship on Jan. 11, two Navy SEALs were reported missing after U.S. officials said they found fragments of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles Iran was supplying to Houthi fighters in Yemen.
Two Navy SEALS who went missing are now presumed to be dead in Somalia after a night mission.
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Over the recent weeks, the United States and its allies have launched a barrage of strikes on the Houthis in an attempt to prevent future attacks on vessels in the Red Sea.
During the raid, one Navy SEAL fell into the Arabian Sea, and a second Navy SEAL jumped in to rescue him. After searching more than 21,000 square miles over 10 days, rescue efforts have ended, and recovery efforts have begun, U.S. Central Command said in a statement on Sunday.
“We mourn the loss of our two Naval Special Warfare warriors, and we will forever honor their sacrifice and example. Our prayers are with the SEALs’ families, friends, the U.S. Navy, and the entire Special Operations community during this time,” said U.S. Army Gen. Michael Kurilla.
The recent SEALs’ raid mapped the latest seizure by the Navy and its allies of weapon shipments routed for the rebels. The series of attacks that followed threatened global trade in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden over Israel’s war against the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip.
“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,” said Kurilla after the operation was made public.
The Navy sank the vessel that was carrying the weapons after classifying it as an “unsafe ship.” All 14 crew members of the ship were detained.
“We mourn the loss of our two brave Navy SEALs, and our hearts are with their families. The entire Department is united in sorrow today. We are grateful to all who worked tirelessly to find and rescue them,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement Sunday.
The names of the two Navy SEALs have not been released due to pending family notifications and privacy.