Navy SEALs were engaged in interdiction mission, climbing onto side of a vessel when one fell into water

In this image provided by the US Navy, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall and amphibious assault ship USS Bataan transit the Bab al-Mandeb strait on Aug. 9, 2023.—AFP

US Central Command confirmed on Sunday that the two Navy SEALs who went missing during a night mission off the coast of Somalia on January 11 are presumed dead.

The SEALs were engaged in an interdiction mission, attempting to climb onto the side of a vessel when one fell into the water, prompting the second SEAL to dive in after him. Despite an exhaustive 10-day search, the missing SEALs could not be located.

Gen. Michael Kurilla expressed condolences, stating, "We mourn the loss of our two Naval Special Warfare warriors, and we will forever honour their sacrifice and example. Our prayers are with the SEALs’ families, friends, the US Navy, and the entire Special Operations community during this time."

The SEALs' mission aimed to intercept a dhow sailing boat bound for Yemen, uncovering Iranian missile parts intended for Houthi militants in Yemen. The operation resulted in the sinking of the ship and the capture of its crew by the SEALs, escalating tensions against Iran in the Yemeni conflict.

Despite a search effort covering over 21,000 square miles of ocean with assistance from the Japanese and Spanish navies, the missing SEALs could not be located.

The Houthi militants, responsible for attacking civilian cargo shipping and US warships, have persisted in their strikes despite US airstrikes.

The escalating Yemeni Civil War poses a threat to the global shipping market and raises concerns about the potential for a new regional conflict in the Middle East.

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