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US Special forces seize Iranian weapons intended for Houthis.


| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by the US DoD on January 16, 2024, the Navy forces seized a dhow in the Arabian Sea, near the coast of Somalia.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Image of the dhow carrying Iranian weapons in the Arabian Sea. (Picture source: Dvids)


The U.S. Navy SEALs, operating from the USS LEWIS B PULLER (ESB 3) and supported by helicopters and UAVs, executed a nighttime boarding of the dhow, which was illegally transporting advanced lethal aid from Iran to Houthi forces in Yemen.

The intercepted arms shipment included Iranian-made components for ballistic and cruise missiles, specifically targeting medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) and anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs).

These components consisted of propulsion, guidance systems, and warheads. The U.S. Navy identified these weapons as similar to those used by Houthis in attacks against international merchant ships in the Red Sea since November 2023.

This operation marks the first interception of lethal, Iranian-supplied advanced conventional weapons (ACW) to the Houthis since their attacks on merchant ships began in November 2023. It is also the first seizure of advanced Iranian-manufactured ballistic missile and cruise missile components by the U.S. Navy since November 2019.

Following the seizure, the dhow was deemed unsafe and subsequently sunk by U.S. Navy forces.

The day prior, on January 10, 2024, the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) had identified and assessed the dhow as engaging in smuggling activities, leading to this interdiction. Initial searches on board revealed suspicious material, which was confirmed as ACW after a detailed inspection.

Analysis

This operation underscores the complex nexus between Iran and the Houthi rebels in Yemen, highlighting Iran's role in destabilizing the region through arms supplies. Such activities exacerbate the Yemen conflict and pose threats to neighboring countries and key maritime routes in the Arabian Sea, crucial for global trade.

The continuous flow of arms to the Houthis contributes to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and obstructs peace initiatives, highlighting the need for a more concerted international effort to resolve the conflict.


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