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US navy seizes Iranian missile components certain for Houthi rebels in raid the place 2 SEALs went lacking

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JERUSALEM — U.S. Navy SEALs seized Iranian-made missile components and different weaponry from a ship certain for Yemen’s Houthi rebels in a raid final week that noticed two of its commandos go lacking, the U.S. navy stated Tuesday.

In the meantime, a brand new ship got here below suspected fireplace from the Houthis within the Pink Sea and sustained some harm, although nobody was wounded, officers stated.

The raid marks the most recent seizure by the U.S. Navy and its allies of weapon shipments certain for the rebels, who’ve launched a sequence of assaults now threatening international commerce within the Pink Sea and Gulf of Aden over Israel’s struggle on Hamas within the Gaza Strip. The seized missile parts included sorts seemingly utilized in these assaults.

The assaults, U.S.-led retaliatory strikes and the raid all have raised tensions throughout the broader Center East, which additionally noticed Iran conduct ballistic missile strikes in each Iraq and Syria.

The SEAL raid occurred final Thursday, with the commandos launching from the usLewis B. Puller backed by drones and helicopters, with the U.S. navy’s Central Command saying it befell within the Arabian Sea.

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The SEALs discovered cruise and ballistic missile parts, together with propulsion and steering gadgets, in addition to warheads, Central Command stated. It added that air protection components additionally have been discovered.

“Preliminary evaluation signifies these identical weapons have been employed by the Houthis to threaten and assault harmless mariners on worldwide service provider ships transiting within the Pink Sea,” Central Command stated in a press release.

Photos launched by the U.S. navy analyzed by The Related Press confirmed parts resembling rocket motors and others beforehand seized. It additionally included what seemed to be a cruise missile with a small turbojet engine — a sort utilized by the Houthis and Iran.

The U.S. Navy finally sunk the ship carrying the weapons after deeming it unsafe, Central Command stated. The ship’s 14 crew have been detained.

The Houthis haven’t acknowledged the seizure and Iran’s mission to the United Nations didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

A United Nations decision bans arms transfers to Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Tehran has lengthy denied arming the rebels, regardless of bodily proof, quite a few seizures and specialists tying the weapons again to Iran.

In the meantime Tuesday, a missile struck the Malta-flagged bulk provider Zografia within the Pink Sea. The vessel had been heading north to the Suez Canal when it was attacked, the Greek Delivery and Island Coverage Ministry stated.

The ship — managed by a Greek agency— had no cargo on board and sustained solely materials harm, the ministry stated. The crew included 20 Ukrainians, three Filipinos and one Georgian.

Satellite tv for pc-tracking information analyzed by The Related Press confirmed the Zografia nonetheless transferring after the assault.

The British navy’s United Kingdom Maritime Commerce Operations, which screens incidents within the Mideast’s waterways, earlier acknowledged an assault within the neighborhood of the Zografia.

Since November, the Houthis have repeatedly focused ships within the Pink Sea, saying they have been avenging Israel’s offensive in Gaza in opposition to Hamas. However they’ve often focused vessels with tenuous or no clear hyperlinks to Israel, imperiling transport in a key route for international commerce.

U.S.-led airstrikes focused Houthi positions on Friday and Saturday. In response, the Houthis launched a missile at a U.S.-owned bulk provider within the Gulf of Aden, additional elevating the dangers within the battle.

The SEALs traveled in small particular operations fight craft pushed by naval particular warfare crew to get to the boat. As they have been boarding it in tough seas, round 8 p.m. native time, one SEAL obtained knocked off by excessive waves and a teammate went in after him. Each stay lacking.


Related Press writers Elena Becatoros in Athens, Greece, and Tara Copp in Washington contributed to this report.

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