Houthi Rebels Hijacked Israeli-Linked Cargo Ship in Red Sea

Houthi rebels in Yemen have seized the Galaxy Leader, an Israel-linked cargo ship in the Red Sea. The incident has escalated tensions in the region, with the rebels claiming the hijacking as a response to Israel’s actions in the ongoing conflict with Hamas.

Houthi Rebels Hijacked Israeli-Linked Cargo Ship in Red Sea

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Conflicting reports have emerged regarding the ownership of the ship, with Israeli shipping businessman Rami Ungar being associated with its ownership.

However, the web of companies involved in the shipping industry makes the ownership challenging. Israel has claims of Israeli origins for the vessel, asserting that it is British-owned and Japanese-operated.

The Houthi rebels released video footage of armed men descending onto the ship’s deck from a military helicopter, providing visual confirmation of the seizure.

The Houthis have previously threatened to target ships linked to Israel, citing their connection to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The nationality of the crew onboard remains uncertain, with Israel claiming that no Israeli nationals are among the 25 crew members.

The Bahamas-flagged Galaxy Leader’s crew comprises individuals from Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Philippines, Mexico, and Romania.

Many countries has condemned the hijacking, with the United States denouncing it as a flagrant violation of international law.

The U.S. State Department has demanded the immediate release of the ship and its crew, signaling diplomatic repercussions.

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Japan, whose shipping company Nippon Yusen operates the vessel, has also condemned the incident and is actively working towards the release of the crew.

The Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, have claimed responsibility for the seizure, citing the ship’s connection to Israel. However, Israel has pointed fingers at Iran, describing the incident as an “Iranian act of terrorism.”

The Iranian government has denied involvement, stating that regional resistance groups make decisions based on their own interests.

The hijacking comes when tensions in the region, particularly in the aftermath of the Israel-Hamas war. The Houthi rebels have been involved in civil war in Yemen, and their actions in targeting ships further complicate the already complex geopolitical landscape.

The incident about the security of international shipping routes, especially in areas like the Red Sea. The Red Sea serves as a trade route, and the hijacking of a cargo ship has implications for global maritime security.

The U.S. Navy’s presence in the region since the start of the Israel-Hamas war underlines the importance of these waters.

The Galaxy Leader’s owner, Galaxy Maritime Ltd, has confirmed that the vessel was “illegally boarded by military personnel via a helicopter” and is currently in the Hodeidah port area in Yemen.

The ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) tracker was switched off during the incident, adding mystery to its movements.

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The United States and other concerned nations are calling for the immediate release of the ship and its crew.

The Houthi rebels justify their actions by linking them to the conflict in Gaza, citing “heinous acts against our Palestinian brothers.”

The hijacking is seen as an extension of the Houthi-Israel tensions, with the rebels to target any ship linked to or owned by Israelis.

Japan, with its vessel operator Nippon Yusen (NYK Line), is actively engaged in efforts for the early release of the crew.

The United States has demanded the immediate release of the ship and crew, addressing the violation of international law by the Houthi rebels. The situation is evolving with various countries and organizations working to address the crisis.

The safety of the 25 crew members currently held by the Houthi rebels are of paramount concern. The crew, comprising nationals from Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Philippines, Mexico, and Romania, are caught in tensions.

The Houthi rebels claim that the hijacking is in response to Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. They have issued threats to target any ships linked to Israel in international waters.

The rebels’ chief negotiator, Mohammed Abdul-Salam, stated that the detention of the Israeli-linked ship is a “practical step” demonstrating the Yemeni armed forces’ commitment to maritime conflict.

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