Two US Navy SEALs Missing After US Seized Alleged Iranian Weapons Shipment to the Houthis

One SEAL fell into the water while boarding a small boat off Somalia and another jumped in after him

Two US Navy SEALs have gone missing in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia during a mission to seize an alleged Iranian weapons shipment bound for the Houthis in Yemen, US Central Command said on Tuesday.

One SEAL fell into the water while attempting to board the small boat, known as a dhow, and a second SEAL jumped in to rescue him, but both are still missing. US military officials have said search and rescue operations are continuing in the Gulf of Aden.

The incident occurred around the time the US and Britain launched airstrikes across Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, which significantly escalated the situation in the region. The Houthis have not backed down and are now targeting US commercial shipping and continuing to target Israel-linked shipping over the onslaught in Gaza.

CENTCOM claimed Iranian-made missile components were found on the dhow and sank the boat. As for the 14 crewmembers who were onboard, CENTCOM said their “disposition” is being “determined in accordance with international law.” CENTCOM said it was the “first seizure of advanced Iranian-manufactured ballistic missile and cruise missile components by the US Navy since November 2019.”

Iran supports the Houthis politically but has always denied arming the Zaydi Shia group, which governs Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and the territory where the majority of Yemenis live.

A picture of the Dhow the US military sank in the Gulf of Aden

The US has helped a Saudi/UAE-led coalition blockade Yemen since 2015 in the name of preventing weapons shipments to the Houthis, but the siege contributed to the mass starvation of Yemenis. According to the UN, the US-backed war on the Houthis killed at least 377,000 people between 2015 and 2022. More than half died due to starvation and disease caused by the blockade and brutal bombing campaign.

The blockade has been eased since the Saudis and the Houthis reached a ceasefire in April 2022. The Saudis have distanced themselves from the recent US anti-Houthi operations and still appear ready to sign a lasting peace deal with the Houthis.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.