Iran to return captured US Navy sailors [UPDATE]
Return Could Come As Early As Wednesday
UPDATE: The New York Times is reporting that the sailors have been released in international waters in the Persian Gulf. Secretary of State John Kerry thanked Iran "for their cooperation in swiftly resolving this matter."
The ten US Navy sailors that were captured by the Iranian Republican Guard Navy while operating in the Persian Gulf could be returned as early as Wednesday an unnamed Pentagon official told Military Times.
"We...have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel," the official said. "We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey."
The sailors were captured earlier this week after one of their two riverine patrol boats suffered a mechanical malfunction and drifted into Iranian waters near Farsi Island. Iranian authorities corroborated the Navy's account.
"Investigation shows that the entry of American sailors into Iran's territorial waters was due to mechanical problems in their navigation system," Gen. Ali Fadavi, head of the Revolutionary Guard's naval forces.
The captured patrol boats are about half the length of the legendary PT boats of World War II, but can hit 43 knots thanks to their Rolls-Royce engines, carry up to 20 people, and can be armed with up to six machine guns. Although designed to operate in rivers and coastal areas, these boats were moving between Bahrain and Kuwait through the Persian Gulf when they were captured by Iran.
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