The Israel Defense Forces said a ship that was hijacked in the Red Sea by Iran-backed Houthi rebels for allegedly being linked to Israel is British-owned and Japanese-operated.
A spokesperson for the Houthis said the terror group would “continue to carry out military operations against the Israeli enemy until the aggression against Gaza stops and the ugly crimes … against our Palestinian brothers in Gaza and the West Bank stop.”
The cargo ship was sailing from Turkey to India at the time it was hijacked without a single Israeli on board. The terrorists took the vessel's 25 crew members hostage.
“This is another act of Iranian terrorism and 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,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office wrote in a statement.
The Bahaman-flagged vessel is registered under a British company, which is partially owned by Israeli tycoon Abraham Ungar, who goes by Rami. The vessel was leased out to a Japanese company at the time of the hijacking.
The Iran-backed Houthis have vowed to target Israeli-linked vessels in the Red Sea. (Times of Israel)
Terrorist Yemeni Houthis released a document of the hijacking of the "Israeli" ship today by their men. They captured 22 "Israeli" crew members, although none of them are Israeli. This happens after their failure to hit Israel with missiles.#IsraelUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/WHAABsd8Hk— Oxomiya Jiyori 🇮🇳 (@SouleFacts) November 20, 2023
The hijacking of a cargo ship by the Houthis near Yemen in the southern Red Sea is a very grave incident of global consequence.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 19, 2023
The ship departed Turkey on its way to India, staffed by civilians of various nationalities, not including Israelis. It is not an Israeli ship.
“Houthi militants’ seizure of the motor vessel Galaxy Leader in the Red Sea is a flagrant violation of international law,” a U.S. military official said in a statement, The Hill reports. “We demand the immediate release of the ship and its crew.”
In 2021, President Biden removed the Houthis from the Foreign Terrorist Organization and Designated Global Terrorist lists, reversing a decision by former President Trump.