TWO US Navy Seals are missing after trying to board a ship that was smuggling Iranian weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The pair were reportedly sent out on a secret mission usually carried out only by the most elite soldiers amid the ongoing Red Sea crisis.
GettyTwo US Navy Seals are missing after trying to board an Iranian ship taking weapons to Houthis in Yemen (file image)[/caption]
One of them reportedly fell while trying to board the ship and the other dived in to save himCNN/DVIDS/FILE
Houthi rebels – backed by Iran and staunch ally of HamasRex
They apparently fell into the rough waters on Thursday night while attempting to raid the ship off the coast of Somalia, NBC reports.
One Seal fell into the sea while trying to climb onto a small boat – and the other jumped in to save him as they both vanished.
Search and rescue efforts, via sea and air, are continuing in a desperate bid to track them down.
And officials are still hoping to find them alive, the Washington Post reports.
The pair were reportedly looking for illegal goods like weapons and drugs on the Yemen-bound ship, and were dispatched from a base in Bahrain.
Tensions are rising daily in the region following strikes from the UK and US last Thursday on Houthi targets in Yemen.
The airstrikes targeted strongholds in the country after the Iran-backed terror proxy group repeatedly ambushed and attacked ships in the Red Sea in response to the Israel-Hamas war.
But National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CBS that the two Seals were not part of the international efforts to prevent the attacks in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
In recent years the US and its allies have regularly sent military personnel out to intercept weapons on ships that are thought to be supplying the Houthis.
Efforts by the UK and US to protect ships from the rebel group, Operation Prosperity Guardian, are ongoing.
Backed by Iran, the Houthis are a staunch ally of Hamas and along with other Iranian-funded groups like Hezbollah have been targeting Israel.
The US Central Command said: “For operational security purposes, we will not release additional information until the personnel recovery operation is complete.”
“Out of respect for the families affected, we will not release further information on the missing personnel at this time.”
It comes as the Houthis appeared to strike back at America with a missile aimed at warship USS Laboon in the Red Sea on Sunday.
A US fighter jet shot down the anti-cruise missile before it reached its target and no one was harmed.
American officials said: “An anti-ship cruise missile was fired from Iranian-backed Houthi militant areas of Yemen toward USS Laboon.
“There were no injuries or damage reported.”
The Houthis announced after the British and American attack in Yemen on Thursday that five militants were killed and six injured.
Their furious forces vowed to retaliate to a scale “beyond the imagination” and told the allied nations they had made a “huge mistake launching the war in Yemen”.
Houthi spokesman Muhammad Al-Bukhaiti also added on Al-Arabi TV that “American interests will be a target for our forces wherever they are”.
Despite repeated strikes by the US even after Thursday’s mission, attacks on Houthi targets have failed to destroy all of the terror proxy group’s weapons – sparking fears of more Red Sea attacks.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps accused the Houthis of “thuggery” in the Red Sea on Monday morning.
He also suggested the UK is open to further airstrikes in Yemen if the rebel group continues to target allied forces.
Shapps said: “We cannot have that situation where they are trying to harass [Red Sea vessels] and we’ll keep a very close eye.
“If we have to take further action then that’s something that we would consider.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak previously said the “targeted strikes” on Thursday were “limited, necessary and proportionate action in self-defence”.
The UK and US targeted Houthi strongholds in Yemen last Thursday
AFPAmerican warship USS Laboon was targeted by a Houthi missile on Sunday[/caption]
ReutersHouthis attacked and seized the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in late November[/caption]Leave a comment