Two Navy SEALs who went missing at sea earlier this month off the coast of Somalia have not been found and they are now presumed dead, U.S. military officials said.
The SEALs were reported missing after a nighttime raid of an Iranian ship on Jan. 11. U.S. officials said they found parts of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles Iran was supplying to Houthi fighters in Yemen.
During the operation, one Navy SEAL fell into the rough waters and a second followed the SEAL in attempt to rescue him, as NPR previously reported.
After a 10-day search of more than 21,000 square miles, with assistance from Spain and Japan, recovery efforts have begun, U.S. Central Command said in a statement on Sunday.
“We mourn the loss of our two Naval Special Warfare warriors, and we will forever honor their sacrifice and example. Our prayers are with the SEALs’ families, friends, the U.S. Navy, and the entire Special Operations community during this time,” said U.S. Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, who heads Central Command.
Officials said they are not currently releasing further information about the deceased out of respect for their families.
The Houthis have attacked commercial and military ships off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea for weeks, saying their attacks are a show of support for Palestinians facing Israeli attacks in Gaza. The U.S. has responded with airstrikes on Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen.