U.S. Central Command revealed Tuesday that the U.S. Navy seized control of a ship last Thursday that was illegally transporting “advanced conventional weapons” from Iran to Houthi terrorists in Yemen.
Central Command released a statement Tuesday explaining that U.S. Navy SEALs completed a “complex boarding” of the dhow vessel in international waters off the coast of Somalia and successfully seized Iranian cruise missile and ballistic missile components. The Navy SEALs operated from the USS Lewis B Puller and were supported by both helicopters and unmanned drones.
“Seized items include propulsion, guidance, and warheads for Houthi medium range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) and anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), as well as air defense associated components,” Central Command stated. “Initial analysis indicates these same weapons have been employed by the Houthis to threaten and attack innocent mariners on international merchant ships transiting in the Red Sea.”
According to Central Command, Thursday’s Navy SEAL mission was the “first seizure of lethal, Iranian-supplied advanced conventional weapons” to Houthi terrorists since the Iran-backed group began attacking commercial ships in November. The mission also marked the first time the Navy has seized cruise missile and ballistic missile components manufactured by Iran since November 2019.
Central Command announced that the dhow vessel was “deemed unsafe” and was destroyed by the Navy.
“The direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of weapons to the Houthis in Yemen violates U.N. Security Resolution 2216 and international law,” Central Command stated.
Central Command also explained that the two U.S. Navy SEALs “lost at sea” were “directly involved” in last Thursday’s mission. General Michael Erik Kurilla from Central Command noted that the U.S. military is “conducting an exhaustive search” for the two missing Navy SEALs.
Addressing the recent seizure of Iranian weapons that were intended to aid Houthi terrorists who have carried out multiple attacks against U.S. forces and commercial ships in the Middle East, Kurilla said it is “clear” that Iran is continuing to provide “advanced lethal aid” to Houthi terrorists.
“This is yet another example of how Iran actively sows instability throughout the region in direct violation of U.N. Security Resolution 2216 and international law,” Kurilla warned. “We will continue to work with regional and international partners to expose and interdict these efforts, and ultimately to reestablish freedom of navigation.”