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Pentagon says Iran military hardware found on vessel near Somalia

The U.S. Central Command said Tuesday that it seized "advanced lethal aid" from a vessel leaving Iran to supply Houthi forces in Yemen.Photo courtesy of U.S. Central Command/UPI
1 of 3 | The U.S. Central Command said Tuesday that it seized "advanced lethal aid" from a vessel leaving Iran to supply Houthi forces in Yemen.Photo courtesy of U.S. Central Command/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The Pentagon said on Tuesday it confiscated "advanced lethal aid" from Iran heading to Yemen for Houthi rebels on a merchant ship it stopped in Jan.11 that left two Navy SEALs missing.

U.S. Central Command said Navy SEALs were able to seize Iranian-made ballistic missiles and cruise missile components including propulsion, guidance and warheads for Houthi medium range ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles in addition to air defense associated components.

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"Initial analysis indicates these same weapons have been employed by the Houthis to threaten and attack innocent mariners on international merchant ships transiting the Red Sea," CENTCOM said.

CENTCOM added the seizure was the first since the attacks on the vessels began in November, following the start of the Israeli-Hamas war.

"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. The direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of weapons to the Houthis in Yemen violates U.N. Security Resolution 2216 and international law."

The success of the vessel raid was overshadowed when two SEALs fell overboard in rough waters during the investigation.

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"We are conducting an exhaustive search for our missing teammates," Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, Centcom's commander said on Tuesday. "It is clear that Iran actively sows instability throughout the region.

"We will continue to work with regional and international partners to expose and interdict these efforts, and ultimately to re-establish freedom of navigation."

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