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2 US Navy SEALs killed

U.S. Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) team members. (U.S. Navy/Released)
January 22, 2024

U.S. Central Command announced Sunday that two Navy SEALs who went missing recently after conducting a dangerous mission near the coast of Somalia are presumed “deceased” after the Navy completed a 10-day search and rescue operation.

“We regret to announce that after a 10-day exhaustive search, our two missing U.S. Navy SEALs have not been located and their status has been changed to deceased,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement released on social media. “The search and rescue operation for the two Navy SEALs reported missing during the boarding of an illicit dhow carrying Iranian advanced conventional weapons Jan. 11 concluded and we are now conducting recovery operations.”

Last week, Central Command announced that the U.S. Navy had seized control of a dhow ship that was illegally transporting Iranian cruise missile and ballistic missile components from Iran to Houthi terrorists in Yemen. Central Command also noted that two U.S. Navy SEALs were reported “missing at sea” during the operation.

Multiple U.S. officials told The Associated Press the missing Navy SEALs went missing during a nighttime boarding interdiction mission of the dhow vessel. The officials added that one of the Navy SEALs was knocked into the water by high waves during the boarding mission, prompting the next SEAL to jump into the water to aid the first SEAL. Central Command confirmed that both missing Navy SEALs were “directly involved” with the dangerous mission.

READ MORE: US Navy seizes ship with Iranian weapons

During the 10-day search for the missing Navy SEALs, both Spain and Japan aided the United States in covering an area of over 21,000 square miles. The U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command, the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, the University of San Diego’s Scripts Institute of Oceanography, and the Office of Naval Research’s Oceanographic Support also provided assistance throughout the search operation.

U.S. Central Command noted that no other information regarding the missing Navy SEALs would be released yet due to respect for the families of the Navy SEALs.

“We mourn the loss of our two Naval Special Warfare warriors, and we will forever honor their sacrifice and example,” General Michael Erik Kurilla said. “Our prayers are with the SEALs’ families, friends, the U.S. Navy, and the entire Special Operations community during this time.”