Occupied Jerusalem: Galaxy Leader, a ship partly owned by an Israeli businessman which was on its way to India from Turkey, has been seized and 25 onboard have been taken hostage by Yemen’s Houthi militias.
Israel denied it has any link with the seized ship but described the incident as an “Iranian act of terrorism” with consequences for international maritime security.
The Iran-backed Houthi militias said they hijacked the ship over its connection to Israel and would continue to target ships in international waters that were linked to or owned by Israelis until the end of Israel’s campaign against Gaza’s Hamas rulers, according to Associated Press.
“All ships belonging to the Israeli enemy or that deal with it will become legitimate targets,” the Houthis said.
The ship has been seized amid the ongoing Israeli military aggression in Gaza Strip and West Bank that has so far killed close to 13,000 civilians - a huge majority of them women and children.
“We confirm our continuation of military operations against [Israel] until the aggression and ugly crimes against our Palestinian brothers in Gaza and the West Bank stop,” said Yemen’s Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree.
In an online statement issued later, Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the Houthis’ Chief negotiator and Spokesman, later added that the Israelis only understand “the language of force.”
The Houthis also assured the safety of crew members saying are treating them in accordance with their Islamic values and principles.
The ship has been later ferried to Yemen's Hodeidah port.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the 25 crew members had a range of nationalities, including Bulgarian, Filipino, Mexican and Ukrainian, but none of them are from Israel.
Israel’s military also denied the ship was Israeli.
“The hijacking of a cargo ship by the Houthis near Yemen in the southern Red Sea is a very grave incident of global consequence", it said in a statement posted on social media X originally launched as Twitter.
“The ship departed Turkey on its way to India, staffed by civilians of various nationalities, not including Israelis. It is not an Israeli ship,” the Israeli army said.
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