Update: The Navy identified the SEALs who went missing during the seizure of Iranian weapons as Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram (pictured above on the left), 37, and Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers, 27.
Washington — The United States military on Sunday declared dead two US Navy SEALs who went missing during the seizure of Iranian weapons from a dhow near the coast of Somalia 10 days earlier.
“The search and rescue operation for the two Navy SEALs reported missing during the boarding of an illicit dhow carrying Iranian advanced conventional weapons Jan. 11 concluded and we are now conducting recovery operations,” the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a Sunday statement, adding that their status “has been changed to deceased.”
CENTCOM said that the two SEALs went missing as US Navy forces “executed a complex boarding” of a dhow near the coast of Somalia in international waters of the Arabian Sea.
The vessel was “conducting illegal transport of advanced lethal aid from Iran to resupply Houthi forces in Yemen as part of the Houthis’ ongoing campaign of attacks against international merchant shipping,” CENTCOM said of the operation in a statement earlier in the week.
This was “the first seizure of lethal, Iranian-supplied advanced conventional weapons (ACW) to the Houthis since the beginning of Houthi attacks against merchant ships in November 2023,” the Tuesday statement said.
“The direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of weapons to the Houthis in Yemen violates U.N. Security Resolution 2216 and international law,” it continued.
Since the beginning of the Gaza war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist Hamas on October 7, the Houthi militia in Yemen has repeatedly attacked freighters with an alleged Israeli connection in the Red Sea.
In response, the US and Britain, with the support of allies, launched a comprehensive military strike against the Houthis on January 12.
Since then, the US military has continued to attack Houthi positions in Yemen. In return, the militant Islamist group continues to attack ships in the Red Sea.
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