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Title: U.S. forces recovered Iranian warheads in Navy SEAL mission gone awry
Source: [None]
URL Source: [None]
Published: Jan 15, 2024
Author: Alex Horton, The Washington Post
Post Date: 2024-01-16 16:51:17 by BTP Holdings
Keywords: None
Views: 36
Comments: 1

U.S. forces recovered Iranian warheads in Navy SEAL mission gone awry

Story by Alex Horton • 15 January 2024

U.S. forces recovered Iranian warheads in Navy SEAL mission gone awry © U.S. Navy/Ensign Amara Timberlake

American military personnel recovered Iranian-made missile warheads and related components during a ship-boarding mission near Somalia last week that disrupted the weapons resupply of militants in Yemen but left two elite Navy SEALs lost at sea, U.S. defense officials said.

A massive search-and-rescue operation is ongoing in the Arabian Sea, where the incident occurred Thursday. The SEALs moved to board the vessel, described by officials as a dhow, a type of trading vessel sometimes used by smugglers to carry illicit weapons. The dhow lacked proper identification, raising suspicions that it was smuggling arms.

As The Washington Post and other media previously reported, Thursday’s nighttime operation, backed by helicopters and drones, took place in rough seas. When one of the SEALs slipped from a ladder while attempting to climb aboard the dhow, the second, having witnessed their comrade fall into the water, dove in to help, officials have said. Both were swept away by the powerful swells. Neither has been publicly identified. As rescue operations began, other troops carried out a search of the boat, which had a crew of 14, according to a Tuesday statement issued by U.S. Central Command. The statement draws a direct link to the weapons’ seizure and more than two dozen militant attacks emanating from Yemen since November, a spate of violence that has significantly disrupted commercial shipping in the Red Sea and prompted an aggressive response from the United States and other nations.

The dhow’s crew was taken into custody, and U.S. personnel sank the vessel, having deemed it “unsafe,” officials said. The seized items included Iranian-made ballistic and cruise missile warheads, propulsion and guidance systems, and air defense components.

This undated photograph released by the U.S. military shows what officials described as seized Iranian-made missile components bound for Yemen's Houthi militants. (U.S. Central Command/AP)

An “initial analysis” indicates the weapons match those that the Houthis, a group closely aligned with Iran that controls large swaths of Yemen, have used to target merchant ships, according to the U.S. military’s statement. It also accuses Iran and others involved of having violated international law and a related U.N. resolution.

It is unclear where the vessel originated and precisely who was on board. “Disposition of the 14 dhow crew members is being determined in accordance with international law,” the statement says. The operation marked the first U.S. Navy seizure of advanced Iranian-made ballistic components since 2019, it notes. The Associated Press first reported some details of the seizure.

The episode has underscored an enduring challenge facing the Biden administration and its international partners as they vow to hold Yemen’s Houthis — and the group’s chief backer, Iran — accountable for a steep rise in attacks that have significantly disrupted commercial shipping in the region. U.S. and British forces struck dozens of Houthi targets in Yemen last week, hoping to discourage additional attacks, but the Pentagon acknowledged afterward that the group will probably remain a threat.

The Houthis have said their actions are in retaliation for Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. The Biden administration has not ruled out future military action in Yemen but has sought to tread carefully, fearful that an overreaction or miscalculation could engulf the Middle East in violence.

U.S. forces in the region reported separately Monday that an American- owned container ship was hit with a ballistic missile in the Houthis’ latest alleged provocation. The container ship sustained no “significant damage,” and its crew was uninjured, officials said in a statement. A missile launched from Yemen earlier in the day came down before it reached the coast.

Senior U.S. officials accused Tehran of having “aided and abetted” the ongoing crisis, which has principally affected commercial vessels transiting the Red Sea. The Houthis, officials contend, would be incapable of threatening these shipping routes without Iran’s This undated photograph released by the U.S. military shows what officials say is the vessel that carried Iranian-made missile components bound for Yemen. Two Navy SEALs went missing while attempting to board the boat.
© U.S. Central Command/AP

The SEALs launched their mission from the USS Lewis B. Puller, which acts as a floating base, and headed toward the dhow in a smaller craft, according to a U.S. official. The dhow’s crew lacked official documentation, which allowed the U.S. boarding team to search the vessel, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive military mission.

Interdicting suspicious or adversarial vessels, known as visit, board, search and seizure, or VBSS, is among the most difficult and dangerous missions undertaken by highly trained troops. Such operations typically involve approaching the suspect vessel in smaller boats and using ladders and climbing tools to get aboard, which can be complicated by violent waves and hostile crew members.

It’s unclear whether the Americans involved in this operation encountered any hostile fire.

Despite the danger involved, such missions occur with some frequency. U.S. forces routinely partner with other nations’ militaries to target vessels suspected of carrying weapons or other contraband as part of a broad effort to blunt piracy and smuggling in the region.

Though it has been days since the two Navy SEALs went missing, the Pentagon remains hopeful that they will be found alive. The waters being searched are warm, officials have said, noting that powerful swells and exhaustion are more of a concern than hypothermia.

In a statement, Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, head of U.S. Central Command, characterized the search effort as “exhaustive.”

Poster Comment:

Make them walk the plank.

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#1. To: BTP Holdings (#0)

Make them walk the plank.

Only after the waters have been chummed with lots of red meat.

"“Believe nothing merely because you have been told it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings - that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.” ~ Gautama Siddhartha — The Buddha

Any sufficiently advanced evil is indistinguishable from stupidity. ~ Unk (Paraphrase of Clarke's 3rd Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.")

Original_Intent  posted on  2024-01-16   22:27:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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