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2 Navy SEALs presumed dead in mission to stop Iranian-made weapons transfer

Jan 22

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The U.S. military has called off a 10-day search and rescue effort for two Navy SEALs, now presumed dead, who went missing in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. According to U.S. Central Command, rescue efforts have turned into recovery efforts.

“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 Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, U.S. Central Command Commander.

The SEALs were part of a team on a mission to stop Iranian weapons from being smuggled into Yemen, earmarked for Houthi rebels. Officials said the weapons were on board a small fishing vessel called a dhow, which Iran sometimes uses to smuggle weapons.

According to reports, during the nighttime boarding mission on Jan. 11, one of the SEALs fell in the rough waters; following protocol, another team member jumped in to rescue the Navy SEAL while the rest of the team carried out the mission. Weapons were recovered, including Iranian-made missile parts and warheads, but the two operators have not been.

According to U.S. military officials, with the help of Japanese and Spanish air and naval resources, crews searched over 21,000 square miles. According to ABC News contributor and retired SEAL commander Eric Oehlerich, these types of missions pose many risks, especially when conditions are not calm.

“You have the risk of your boat capsizing in close proximity to larger vessels, you have to establish a solid ladder point, you have to climb a ladder at night over the open ocean between two ships — they’re smashing into each other — and then get on board,” Oehlerich said.

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THE U-S MILITARY HAS CALLED OFF A 10-DAY SEARCH AND RESCUE EFFORT FOR 2 NAVY SEALS WHO WENT MISSING IN THE GULF OF ADEN OFF THE COAST OF YEMEN. THE SEALS ARE NOW PRESUMED DEAD.

ACCORDING TO U-S CENTRAL COMMAND —

RESCUE EFFORTS HAVE NOW TURNED INTO RECOVERY EFFORTS.

THE SEALS WERE PART OF A TEAM ON A MISSION TO STOP IRANIAN WEAPONS FROM BEING SMUGGLED INTO YEMEN — EARMARKED FOR HOUTHI REBELS.

THE WEAPONS WERE ON BOARD A SMALL FISHING VESSEL.

ACCORDING TO REPORTS, DURING THE NIGHTTIME BOARDING MISSION ON JANUARY 11TH, ONE OF THE SEALS FELL IN THE WATER,

FOLLOWING PROTOCOL — ANOTHER TEAM MEMBER JUMPED IN TO RESCUE THE SEAL, WHILE THE REST OF THE TEAM CARRIED OUT THE MISSION.

U-S CENTRAL COMMAND SAYING QUOTE:

“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.”