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GOP lawmaker and ex-Green Beret demands briefing on deaths of Navy SEALs

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A top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee is calling for a briefing on the deaths of two Navy SEALs during an operation to stop a shipment of weapons to Houthi rebels.

Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., a retired Army Green Beret, mourned the loss of the two special forces fighters but said he had ‘questions’ about how the mission took place. 

‘My heart breaks for the loss of these two Navy SEALs. Our country relies on the heroism of elite warriors like the Navy SEALs to conduct dangerous operations,’ Waltz told Fox News Digital.

‘I have questions on the risk assessment regarding the need to do the specific operation they were conducting. We must ensure that the strategy President Biden has chosen has a realistic chance of deterring Iran, so their lives were not lost in vain.’

Waltz is the chairman of the Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on military readiness. He also sits on the House committees on intelligence and oversight.

He said on X on Monday, ‘I have a lot of questions about the planning, execution, and aftermath of this operation. As Chairman of Military Readiness, I have requested a detailed briefing.’

The Navy announced earlier that day that the search and rescue mission for Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers and Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage had ended.

Chambers and Gage were lost at sea on Jan. 11 during a nighttime raid on a ship carrying weapons from Iran to rearm Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, the Navy said. 

The Associated Press reported that Gage slipped and fell into the Arabian Sea while boarding the Yemen-bound vessel, and that Chambers had jumped in to save him. 

They’re the first two U.S. soldiers to die in the ongoing conflict between Houthis and the West. The Iran-backed militants have been attacking U.S. ships and other commercial ships in the Red Sea, claiming their actions are in defense of Gaza amid Israel’s war with Hamas.

The U.S. has responded with multinational coalition air strikes on Houthi positions in Yemen.

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