Four men charged after US seized Iranian-made weapons from vessel in Arabian Sea

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The U.S. Department of Justice announced that it has indicted four foreign nationals after the U.S. Navy seized a ship transporting weapons believed to be Iranian-made in the Arabian Sea.

Two Navy SEALs were killed during the intervention.

David Sandberg, assistant director of the FBI’s Washington field office, said the men’s arrests and subsequent charges were intended to “send a message” to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

“Today’s charges send a message that it will not be tolerated by the U.S. government to act on behalf of the Revolutionary Guard with the intent of harming Americans abroad,” Samberg said.

“The transportation of explosive materials used for the purpose of intimidation or harm is an example of destructive and hostile acts by the Revolutionary Guards,” he added. “The FBI and our partners in the U.S. government will continue to thwart efforts by hostile foreign governments to intimidate and harm through violence.”

Navy confirms the death of two seals who went missing during a night mission in the Arabian Sea

Four foreign nationals were charged Thursday with transporting weapons believed to be Iranian-made on a ship seized by the U.S. Navy in the Arabian Sea last month. (Ministry of Justice)

Image of two Navy SEALs

Naval Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers (left) and Naval Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram went missing during a night boarding mission off the coast of Somalia this month. (US Navy)

According to court records, U.S. Central Command naval forces launched the operation from the USS. Lewis B. Puller, a Navy SEAL and members of the U.S. Coast Guard Eastern Maritime Security Response Team, boarded the small vessel on January 11.

The Justice Department said Naval Special Warfare Pilot 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram climbed a ladder to begin boarding the boat when he slipped and a wave landed in a gap between the ship and a SEAL fighter jet. That’s what it means.

As he sank, Naval Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers jumped into the gap and tried to save him.

According to the agency, the Navy conducted a large-scale search to find and rescue each SEAL, but both members were confirmed dead on January 22.

U.S. military personnel encountered the 14 people on board the ship in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Somalia.

During a search of the ship, a team of American crew members allegedly discovered and seized advanced Iranian-made conventional weapons.

The Justice Department said preliminary analysis of the weapon showed it contained “key components” of a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) and an anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM).

Search for missing Navy SEAL in Arabian Sea called off

The agency announced that warheads, propulsion devices, and guidance components were also found among the materials seized.


Some of the weapons and parts found on board the smugglers’ ship. The Justice Department said the materials were consistent with those used by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels to attack merchants and U.S. troops. (Ministry of Justice)

The agency said the material found on board was “likely to be consistent with weapons used by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in recent attacks on U.S. warships and commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.” announced.

According to court records, the Navy placed 14 foreign sailors aboard the U.S.S. Lewis B. Puller, after determining that their ship was unsafe and unseaworthy.

On February 11, the United States obtained arrest warrants for four of the foreign nationals, identified as Muhammad Palawan, Mohammad Mazar, Ghufran Ullah, and Izhar Muhammad.


A warhead was discovered on board the ship, which was believed to be smuggling Iranian weapons. (Ministry of Justice)

Four people found with Pakistani identification cards were transferred from the USS. Lewis B. Fuller, for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The Justice Department said Palawan was charged with: Deliberately and illegally transported warheads knowing that they would be used by Houthi rebels against commercial and naval vessels in the Red Sea and surrounding waters. Provided materially false information to U.S. Coast Guard officials about the ship’s crew and cargo while on board the dhow.

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Mr. Mazar, Mr. Ullah, and Mr. Muhammad were also charged with providing materially false information about the crew and cargo to U.S. Coast Guard personnel while on board the ship.



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