- Iran-backed Houthi rebels hijacked an international-flagged cargo ship in the Red Sea on Sunday.
- A new video clip published 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 released by the Houthi rebel group shows Iran-backed militants conducting a dramatic helicopter raid on an international-flagged cargo ship in the Red Sea, hijacking the vessel and holding its entire crew hostage.
The harrowing, nearly four-minute-long footage released by the Yemen-based Houthis on Monday shows snippets of how the ship was seized the day before. The film begins by showing the Bahamas-flagged ship Galaxy Leader in the distance, before cutting to a helicopter landing on the ship’s deck – an aggressive operation even by Iranian standards.
Several gunmen armed with rifles can be seen exiting the helicopter and storming the deck, taking up positions as they approach the ship’s bridge, before entering the cockpit and shouting at a handful of crew members. Additional footage shows some of the rebels operating from other positions inside the ship, as well as footage showing the Galaxy Leader navigating among several smaller speedboats.
Houthi spokesman He said on Sunday that the rebel group had hijacked the ship because it was linked to Israel, and issued a warning to all ships linked to Israel that they would become a “legitimate target” for military action. The spokesman suggested that countries that have citizens working in the Red Sea avoid association with ships belonging to Israel.
But Israeli officials backed away from that. The Israeli army said in a statement on Telegram on Sunday that the Galaxy Leader ship is not an Israeli ship, and that it left Turkey on its way to India. Publicly available shipping data since Saturday shows the ship was midway through its southbound crossing of the Red Sea.
Office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu He said The ship is owned by a British company and managed by a Japanese company, despite what was reported Affiliate With an Israeli billionaire. The office said the 25 crew members on board the ship were of a few nationalities, including Ukrainian and Mexican, but none of them were Israeli. It “strongly” condemned what it confirmed was an “Iranian attack.”
“This is another act of Iranian terrorism and represents a leap forward in Iran’s aggression against citizens of the free world, with international consequences regarding the security of global shipping lines,” Netanyahu’s office said. Iranian naval activities across the Middle East — including ship hijackings and weapons smuggling to the Houthis — have long alarmed Western militaries, and U.S. officials often criticize Tehran for actions they say are destabilizing.
Meanwhile, the status of the hostages aboard the Galaxy Leader is unknown, and the Japanese government is unknown It said And work to secure their release through negotiations with the Houthis. NYK Line shipping company, He said There was no cargo on board the ship when it was seized near Hodeidah on the western coast of Yemen. It is unclear where exactly the ship is now, although a Houthi spokesman said after confirming its capture that it had been moved to the Yemeni coast.
The spokesman said, “The Yemeni armed forces deal with the ship’s crew in accordance with the principles and values of our Islamic religion.” They added that the Houthis will continue to target Israeli assets until the country stops its war against Hamas, although Israel – and the United States – have ruled out doing so and continue to stress the need to completely crush Hamas due to its responsibility in the October 7 terror. Attacks.
Since that day, the Houthis have launched multiple waves of drones and missiles at Israel, forcing the country to activate the top level of its advanced air defense network. US Navy warships in the Red Sea have also shot down Houthi threats on more than one occasion, most recently downing a drone last week. Adding to their list of provocations, in early November Houthi militants shot down a US military drone, a MQ-9 Reaper, off the coast of Yemen.
The Houthis are one of several Iranian-backed groups that have intensified their attacks against Israel and the United States since the beginning of the ongoing war. Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon continue to clash with Israeli army forces in cross-border attacks on daily bases, and Tehran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria launched dozens of missile and drone attacks on American forces stationed in the two countries.
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