January 17, 2024

US Navy Seizes Iranian Weapons Transported to Houthis

On Tuesday, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) confirmed the seizure of a sailing ship by U.S. Navy Forces on January 11.

The ship was engaged in the illegal transport of advanced lethal aid from Iran to resupply the Houthi forces in Yemen, a designated terrorist group.

U.S. Navy SEALs, operating from USS Lewis B Puller, conducted a complex boarding of the vessel near the coast of Somalia in international waters of the Arabian Sea.

The seized items included Iranian-made ballistic missile and cruise missile components, such as propulsion, guidance, and warheads for Houthi medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) and anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), along with air defense-associated components.

Initial analysis suggests that these weapons have been used by the Houthis to threaten and attack international merchant ships in the Red Sea.

The operation was executed with the support of helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The seized ship was subsequently sunk by the U.S. Navy. The direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of weapons to the Houthis violates U.N. Security Resolution 2216 and international law.

Two U.S. Navy SEALs who were initially reported as lost at sea were directly involved in this operation, and an exhaustive search is underway for the missing teammates, according to General Michael Erik Kurilla, USCENTCOM Commander.

The incident underscores Iran's continued shipment of advanced lethal aid to the Houthis, violating U.N. Security Resolution 2216 and international law. General Kurilla affirmed the commitment to work with regional and international partners to expose and interdict such efforts and reestablish freedom of navigation.

On a related note, Iran launched ballistic missiles near the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, Iraq, on Monday, claiming responsibility for the attacks. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated terrorist organization, stated that the strikes targeted the "headquarters of spies" and "anti-Iranian terrorist gatherings in parts of the region."

The attacks resulted in casualties, but no American casualties were reported. Iran has activated its proxies in the region, leading to over 120 attacks against U.S. forces since October 17.

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