The Houthi rebels in Yemen seized control of a cargo ship sailing from Turkey to India on Sunday in the Red Sea, according to the Associated Press. The twenty-five crew men of the ship were captured.
Iran-supported Houthis, stated they seized the ship because of its Israeli ties. They declared that until Israel’s attack on Gaza ends, they would keep pursuing ships associated with or owned by Israelis in international seas.
“This is the beginning.” The Houthi spokesperson and top negotiator, Mohammed Abdul-Salam stated, “The detention of the Israeli ship is a practical step that proves the seriousness of the Yemeni armed forces in waging the sea battle, regardless of its costs.”
The Israeli Defence Forces verified the hijack and described it as “a very grave incident of global consequence” on X, the new name for Twitter.
“The hijacking of a cargo ship by the Houthis near Yemen in the southern Red Sea is a very grave incident of global consequence.
The ship departed Turkey on its way to India, staffed by civilians of various nationalities, not including Israelis. It is not an Israeli ship.”
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) posted on November 19, 2023
The hijacking was denounced by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “act of Iranian terrorism.”
According to Netanyahu’s office, “[This] constitutes a leap forward in Iran’s aggression against the citizens of the free world, with international consequences regarding the security of the global shipping lanes.”
The ship is run by a Japanese corporation and owned by a British company, according to the prime minister’s office. Nonetheless, the Associated Press reports that public shipping database records indicate that the ship’s owner is connected to Ray Car Carriers, which was established by one of Israel’s wealthiest men, Abraham “Rami” Ungar.
The hijacking occurred when the Israeli-Gaza conflict was well into its seventh week. According to Al Jazeera, approximately 13,000 Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli troops’ unrelenting airstrikes and ground operations.
The activities of Tel Aviv are in retaliation for an attack on October 7 that claimed 1,200 Israeli lives and was carried out by the terrorist Palestinian group Hamas.
Earlier this month, the Houthis took credit for assaults on Israel using drones and missiles.
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