U.S. military seized Iranian weapons meant for Houthis
U.S. Navy SEALs seized a cache of Iranian-supplied missile parts and other weaponry bound for Yemen's Houthi rebels, U.S. Central Command announced Tuesday.
Driving the news: Search and rescue operations are ongoing for two Navy SEALs who went missing during the mission, CENTCOM said.
- "We are conducting an exhaustive search for our missing teammates," Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, said in the press release.
The big picture: The weapons were seized on Jan. 11 in international waters off the coast of Somalia, CENTCOM said.
- The seizure included "propulsion, guidance, and warheads for Houthi medium range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) and anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), as well as air defense associated components," it added.
- An initial analysis indicated that these weapons and parts have been used by the Houthis to conduct their attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, per the release.
- "This is the first seizure of lethal, Iranian-supplied advanced conventional weapons (ACW) to the Houthis since the beginning of Houthi attacks against merchant ships in November 2023," the statement noted.
Zoom out: The Houthis have conducted dozens of attacks on merchant and commercial vessels in the Red Sea since last fall.
- The U.S. and U.K. carried out airstrikes last week against the Houthis after the group continued the assaults.
- The Houthis' attacks have hampered international shipping routes and fueled fears of a wider regional conflict in the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war.
What they're saying: "It is clear that Iran continues shipment of advanced lethal aid to the Houthis," Kurilla said. "This is yet another example of how Iran actively sows instability throughout the region."