Navy SEALs Seize Iranian Weapons Intended for Houthis

The ship carrying Iranian weapons seized by U.S. military (@CENTCOM/Twitter)
January 16, 2024

American Navy SEALs last week seized Iran-made weapons parts that a small boat was carrying to the Houthis in Yemen, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

"This is the first seizure of lethal, Iranian-supplied advanced conventional weapons to the Houthis since the beginning of Houthi attacks against merchant ships in November 2023," U.S. Central Command said in a release. "The interdiction also constitutes the first seizure of advanced Iranian-manufactured ballistic missile and cruise missile components by the U.S. Navy since November 2019."

In the Jan. 11 raid on the boat, the SEALS confiscated components for the Houthis' medium-range ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles.

"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," the announcement read.

SEALs detained the 14-member crew of the boat, and Navy forces sunk the ship, which they deemed unsafe.

"It is clear that Iran continues shipment of advanced lethal aid to the Houthis," CENTCOM commander Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla said in the bulletin. "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. We will continue to work with regional and international partners to expose and interdict these efforts, and ultimately to reestablish freedom of navigation."

CENTCOM also revealed that two sailors the military had reported missing at sea last week were SEALs who took part in the raid and that efforts to find them are ongoing.

The raid occurred the same day that the United States and United Kingdom struck Houthi targets in Yemen after the group began targeting commercial ships in the Red Sea. The group said it would continue the attacks in the wake of the operation, and, on Monday, it launched a ballistic missile at an American cargo ship.