May 18, 2024

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An alleged video of the hijacked cargo ship “Galaxy Leader” has been released by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The rebels, who had promised to target Israeli ships over its war on Hamas, insist that the ship is Israeli. Israel has denied, adding that it does not have any Israeli citizen on board either.

The ship from Turkey was heading for India when it was hijacked yesterday. The bone-chilling two-minute clip shows the hijack.

The rebels had come on a helicopter that landed on the ship’s deck, where no one was about. Then shouting slogans and firing shots, they run across the deck, taking over the wheelhouse and the control centre.

The few crew members seen in the video, taken completely by surprise, are seen putting up their hands. The other rebels are seen rushing through the ship, firing shots.

The ship has been was re-routed to the Yemeni port of Salif port in Hodeida province, reported news agency AFP, quoting maritime security company Ambrey and a Yemeni maritime source.

The seizure “is only the beginning,” Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said Sunday in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, pledging further maritime attacks until Israel halts its Gaza campaign.

The Bahamas-flagged ship was carrying around 25 crew members belonging to various nations. It is owned by a British company, linked to Israeli tycoon Abraham “Rami” Ungar. The vessel was leased out to a Japanese company at the time of the hijacking.

The Houthis, backed by Iran, have vowed to target Israel-linked vessels in the Red Sea. After the hijack, they insisted that Israeli ships are “legitimate targets”.”Israeli ships are legitimate targets for us anywhere…and we will not hesitate to take action,” Major General Ali Al-Moshki, a Huthi military official, told the group’s Al-Massirah TV station, reported AFP.

Israel has denounced the hijack and slammed Iran.

“Israel strongly condemns the Iranian attack against an international vessel,” read a post on X from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. “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,” read another of its posts.

Iran has dismissed the allegations.

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