- Iran-backed Houthi rebels hijacked an internationally-flagged cargo ship in the Red Sea on Sunday.
- A new video released by the militants shows them carrying out a helicopter raid on the ship.
- The Yemen-based group said the incident was linked to Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas.
A new video shared by the Houthi rebel group shows that pro-Iranian fighters carried out an attack on an internationally flagged cargo ship in the Red Sea, hijacking it and taking its entire crew hostage.
The chilling footage, nearly four minutes long, released by the Yemen-based Houthis on Monday, shows snippets of how the ship seizure unfolded the previous day. It begins by showing the Bahamas-flagged Galaxy Leader from afar — an aggressive move even by Iranian standards — before a helicopter lands on the deck.
Several militants armed with guns are seen exiting the helicopter and taking up positions as it approaches the ship’s bridge, before entering the pilothouse and shouting at a few crew members. Additional footage shows some rebels operating from other locations inside the ship, and captures the Galaxy Leader sailing among several small speedboats.
A Houthi spokesman said The rebel group on Sunday hijacked the ship because it was linked to Israel, and warned that all ships associated with Israel would become a “legitimate target” for military action. The spokesman recommended that countries with citizens working in the Red Sea avoid contact with Israeli-affiliated ships.
But Israeli officials have pushed back. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a telegram statement on Sunday that the Galaxy Leader was not an Israeli vessel and had left Turkey en route to India. Ship data made public on Saturday showed the vessel was halfway through its southbound passage in the Red Sea.
Office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said The ship is owned by a British company and operated by a Japanese company, although it is said that joined With an Israeli billionaire. The office said the 25 crew members on board were a handful of nationalities, including Ukrainian and Mexican, but none of them were Israeli. It “strongly” condemned what it insisted was an “Iranian attack”.
“This is another act of Iranian terrorism and constitutes a leap in Iran’s aggression against citizens of the free world, with international consequences regarding the security of global shipping lanes,” Netanyahu’s office said. Iran’s naval activities around the Middle East — including ship hijackings and arms smuggling to the Houthis — have long troubled Western militaries, and U.S. officials often blame Tehran for actions they say are destabilizing.
Meanwhile, the status of the hostages aboard the Galaxy Leader is unknown, the Japanese government said is reported Efforts to secure their release through negotiations with the Houthis. Shipping Company, NYK Line, said The vessel was seized near Hodeidah on Yemen’s west coast and found to be empty of cargo, it said on Monday. It was unclear where the ship was now, although a Houthi spokesman said after confirming it had been brought to the coast of Yemen.
“The Yemeni armed forces deal with the crew in accordance with the principles and values of our Islamic religion,” the spokesman said. They added that the Houthis will continue to target Israeli assets until the country ends its war against Hamas, and while Israel and the US have denied doing so, they continue to insist on the need to completely crush Hamas in the October 7 terror. attacks.
Since then, the Houthis have fired multiple waves of drones and missiles at Israel, forcing it to activate the upper levels of the country’s sophisticated air-defense network. US Navy warships have shot down Houthi threats in the Red Sea more than once, most recently shooting down a drone last week. Adding to their list of provocations, in early November Houthi fighters shot down a US military MQ-9 Reaper drone off the coast of Yemen.
The Houthis are one of several Iran-backed groups that have stepped up attacks against Israel and the United States since the start of the ongoing war. Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon continue to engage in daily cross-border attacks on bases with IDF troops, and Tehran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria have launched dozens of rocket and drone attacks on U.S. forces stationed in both countries.
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