U.S. military officials confirmed Sunday that the 10-day search for two missing Navy SEALS is now called off and they are presumed to be dead.
U.S. Central Command noted the search transitioned to a recovery effort for the bodies of the missing service members. The two were part of a military operation to board a vessel and recover Iranian-manufactured weapons.
An expansive search covered over 21,000 square miles and was joined by forces from Japan and Spain. Several U.S. agencies also pitched in, including the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command and the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center.
Gen. Erik Kurilla of U.S. Central Command made the somber announcement. “We mourn the loss of our two Naval Special Warfare warriors, and we will forever honor their sacrifice and example.”
Kurilla added, “Our prayers are with the SEAL’s families, friends, the U.S. Navy and the entire Special Operations community during this time.”
2 Missing Navy SEALs Declared Dead After 10-Day Search Operation
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) January 22, 2024
The SEALs went missing after attempting to board the vessel off the Somalia coast in the Gulf of Aden on Jan. 11, according to U.S. officials. American forces are engaged in a struggle with Houthi terrorists in Yemen, and the rebels are backed by arms shipments from Iran.
The Houthi have engaged in a series of attacks on commercial shipping in the region. Leaders claim the missile strikes are in support of the Palestinian people after Hamas terrorists carried out a massacre of Israeli citizens on Oct. 7.
Israel retaliated against enemy forces just as Hamas and their Houthi supporters knew they would.
The launches against vessels prompted many international shipping firms to reroute around the southern tip of Africa — adding cost and time to worldwide commerce.
The U.S. carried out a new strike on a Houthi anti-ship missile Saturday targeting the Gulf of Aden. Military officials said the missile was prepared to launch.
American strikes have targeted radar and missile capabilities of the rebels, though President Joe Biden admitted they have not had the desired impact. The White House said military operations will continue until the attacks on commercial shipping end.