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2 US Navy SEALs missing after dangerous mission

Navy uniform. (Dreamstime/TNS)
January 15, 2024

United States officials have reported that two U.S. Navy Seals are still missing after conducting a dangerous mission Thursday night near the coast of Somalia.

“On the evening of January 11, two U.S. Navy Sailors were reported missing at sea while conducting operations off the coast of Somalia,” U.S. Central Command wrote in a statement released on Friday. “Search and rescue operations are currently ongoing to locate the two sailors. For operational security purposes, we will not release additional information until the personnel recovery operation is complete.”

According to three U.S. officials who spoke with The Associated Press, the two missing Navy SEALs were assigned to a nighttime boarding interdiction mission. As the Navy SEALs were attempting to board the vessel, one of the SEALs was knocked into the water due to high waves. The Associated Press noted that Navy SEAL protocol requires the next SEAL to jump into the water after one SEAL falls down.

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Two U.S. officials told The Associated Press that both Navy SEALs were still missing, prompting a search and rescue mission to be conducted in the Gulf of Aden.

While U.S. officials confirmed the ongoing search and rescue operation, Central Command explained, “Out of respect for the families affected, we will not release further information on the missing personnel at this time.” However, Central Command noted that both Navy SEALs were “forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet (C5F) area of operations supporting a wide variety of missions.”

The Associated Press reported that the U.S. Navy has executed multiple interdiction missions, preventing weapons from being transported to the Iran-backed Houthis based in Yemen. A U.S. official told The Associated Press that last Thursday’s mission was not connected with Operation Prosperity Guardian or the joint strikes conducted last week by the United States and its allies in Yemen.

A former U.S. official told ABC News that nighttime boarding operations, such as Thursday night’s mission involving the two missing Navy SEALs, are often dangerous and complicated due to the fluctuating conditions of the ocean and the environment of the region.