Ten US sailors released from Iranian custody

White House officials say they are aware of the situation and are working to return the sailors home safely

Ten American sailors were released from Iranian custody on Wednesday after two small US Navy ships were detained in the Persian Gulf.

A senior US Defense Department official told The Independent two small US Navy ships went missing for some time on Tuesday but said that Iranian officials had ensured the crews' safety.

"Earlier today, we lost contact with two small US naval craft en route from Kuwait to Bahrain," the official said.

"We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel."

The official added that: "We have received assurances the ten sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey."

The Fars News Agency in Iran reports that the boats illegally entered Iranian waters and the US sailors were “arrested.”

Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Navy confiscated GPS equipment and accused the servicemen of “snooping.”

White House officials said that they are aware of the situation and are working to return the sailors home safely.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters that the administration was optimistic about the situation, according to Reuters.

Two US officials told the news agency that is was unlikely that the sailors — nine men and one woman — would be released overnight. 

The incident comes just hours before President Barack Obama is scheduled to address the nation in his eighth and final State of the Union Address.

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