Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

JERUSALEM — U.S. Navy SEALs seized Iranian-made missile components and different weaponry from a ship sure for Yemen’s Houthi rebels in a raid final week that noticed two of its commandos go lacking, the U.S. army mentioned Tuesday.

In the meantime, a brand new ship got here below suspected fireplace from the Houthis within the Crimson Sea and sustained some harm, although nobody was wounded, officers mentioned.

The raid marks the most recent seizure by the U.S. Navy and its allies of weapon shipments sure for the rebels, who’ve launched a sequence of assaults now threatening international commerce within the Crimson Sea and Gulf of Aden over Israel’s battle on Hamas within the Gaza Strip. The seized missile elements included sorts possible utilized in these assaults.

The assaults, U.S.-led retaliatory strikes and the raid all have raised tensions throughout the broader Center East, which additionally noticed Iran conduct ballistic missile strikes in each Iraq and Syria.

The SEAL raid occurred final Thursday, with the commandos launching from the united statesLewis B. Puller backed by drones and helicopters, with the U.S. army’s Central Command saying it happened within the Arabian Sea.

The SEALs discovered cruise and ballistic missile elements, together with propulsion and steerage gadgets, in addition to warheads, Central Command mentioned. It added that air protection components additionally had been discovered.

“Preliminary evaluation signifies these similar weapons have been employed by the Houthis to threaten and assault harmless mariners on worldwide service provider ships transiting within the Crimson Sea,” Central Command mentioned in an announcement.

Photographs launched by the U.S. army analyzed by The Related Press confirmed elements resembling rocket motors and others beforehand seized. It additionally included what seemed to be a cruise missile with a small turbojet engine — a kind utilized by the Houthis and Iran.

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The U.S. Navy finally sunk the ship carrying the weapons after deeming it unsafe, Central Command mentioned. The ship’s 14 crew have been detained.

The Houthis haven’t acknowledged the seizure and Iran’s mission to the United Nations didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

A United Nations decision bans arms transfers to Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Tehran has lengthy denied arming the rebels, regardless of bodily proof, quite a few seizures and specialists tying the weapons again to Iran.

In the meantime Tuesday, a missile struck the Malta-flagged bulk service Zografia within the Crimson Sea. The vessel had been heading north to the Suez Canal when it was attacked, the Greek Transport and Island Coverage Ministry mentioned.

The ship — managed by a Greek agency— had no cargo on board and sustained solely materials harm, the ministry mentioned. The crew included 20 Ukrainians, three Filipinos and one Georgian.

Satellite tv for pc-tracking information analyzed by The Related Press confirmed the Zografia nonetheless transferring after the assault.

The British army’s United Kingdom Maritime Commerce Operations, which screens incidents within the Mideast’s waterways, earlier acknowledged an assault within the neighborhood of the Zografia.

Since November, the Houthis have repeatedly focused ships within the Crimson Sea, saying they had been avenging Israel’s offensive in Gaza towards Hamas. However they’ve ceaselessly focused vessels with tenuous or no clear hyperlinks to Israel, imperiling transport in a key route for international commerce.

U.S.-led airstrikes focused Houthi positions on Friday and Saturday. In response, the Houthis launched a missile at a U.S.-owned bulk service within the Gulf of Aden, additional elevating the dangers within the battle.

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The SEALs traveled in small particular operations fight craft pushed by naval particular warfare crew to get to the boat. As they had been boarding it in tough seas, round 8 p.m. native time, one SEAL acquired knocked off by excessive waves and a teammate went in after him. Each stay lacking.


Related Press writers Elena Becatoros in Athens, Greece, and Tara Copp in Washington contributed to this report.

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