Iranian military personnel likely removed two SIM cards from phones belonging to the 10 American sailors who were detained by Iran overnight last week, the Pentagon said.
“A post-recovery inventory of the boats found that all weapons, ammunition, and communication gear are accounted for minus two SIM cards that appear to have been removed from two handheld satellite phones,” Central Command said in the release.
The 10 American sailors and their two riverine command boats were taken into custody by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps after Iran accused them of drifting into its territorial waters while in the Persian Gulf. The sailors were approached by Iranian boats after one of the Navy craft encountered a mechanical problem, causing the sailors to stop and troubleshoot.
The “preliminary timeline” released Monday did not provide additional insight into what caused the sailors to deviate from their planned route between Kuwait and Bahrain Tuesday, though it noted that a forthcoming Navy command investigation will yield more details about the circumstances of the detention.
“A Navy command investigation initiated on Jan. 14, will provide a more complete accounting of events,” Central Command said.
The account did note that the sailors and their boats were approached by multiple Iranian vessels carrying “armed personnel” and were held at gunpoint during their detention. There was also a “verbal exchange” between the Iranians and the American sailors.
“Initial operational reports indicate there was a verbal exchange between the sailors and the Iranians but no exchange of gun fire,” the account explained. “Armed Iranian military personnel then boarded the RCBs [riverine command boats], while other Iranian personnel aboard the Iranian vessels conducted armed over-watch of the boats with mounted machine guns. At gunpoint, the RCBs were escorted to a small port facility on Farsi Island where the U.S. sailors disembarked and were detained for approximately 15 hours.” Read More