Members of the elite force that killed bin Laden disappear

Members of the elite force that killed bin Laden disappear on a secret mission against Houthis Correio do Povo

Two soldiers from the elite troops of the United States Navy (SEALs), responsible for the operation that killed terrorist Osama Bin Laden in 2011, disappeared at sea during an operation against the Houthi rebel group. The disappearance occurred during a ship hijacking near Somalia that failed last week, according to two U.S. officials. This involved the procurement of Iranian weapons that were intended for the Houthis in Yemen for attacks in the Red Sea.

The soldiers prepared to board a ship in the Gulf of Aden on the 11th, a day of rough seas. One of them had slipped from a ladder, the other was diving when he saw his companion in the water who came to his aid. It is unclear whether other military personnel managed to board the ship and, if so, whether Iranianmade weapons were found.

These operations typically involve boarding, searching and seizing suspicious or enemy vessels. They are considered one of the military's most difficult and dangerous missions and are usually carried out by troops with special training. This includes approaching suspicious vessels with smaller boats, using ladders and climbing equipment for boarding in rough seas and hostile crew members.

Search and rescue operations are ongoing. The biggest risks are the hot water in the region, the sea with strong waves and the exhaustion of the military. According to authorities, commanders still hope that the two elite soldiers are alive.

When asked about the operation on a television broadcast, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby explained that it was a continuing action by the American military in the region to stop the flow of weapons from Iran to Yemen, where the Tehranbacked Houthi group rules in part of the country. Kirby sought to distinguish this operation from the USled airstrikes against Houthi facilities on the same day.

The disappearance underscores the ongoing challenge for Joe Biden's administration and his international allies, who blame the Houthis and Iran for an increase in attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea that are affecting global trade. American officials say Tehran is guilty of “supporting” the Middle East crisis because the Houthis would not be able to threaten the sea route without Iran's technical and intelligence support. The Houthis say the bombings are a protest against Israel's military operation in Gaza.

American and British airstrikes in Yemen targeted several radar stations, missile launch sites and storage facilities used for the Red Sea attacks. According to the Pentagon, the group is likely to remain a threat even after the attacks. The Biden administration has not ruled out future military action in the country but has sought to act cautiously to prevent an escalation of violence and drawing the entire Middle East into war.

Even before the tensions, there were US military activities in the region in cooperation with other countries to curb piracy and arms trafficking.

Also see