Yemen’s Houthis seize Israeli ship in Red Sea, confirms Netanyahu

Yemen’s Houthis seize Israeli ship in Red Sea, confirms Netanyahu

Jerusalem: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has confirmed that Yemen’s Houthis had seized a British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship in the southern Red Sea.

“This is another Iranian act of terrorism that represents an escalation in Iran’s belligerence against the citizens of the free world, with concomitant international ramifications vis-a-vis the security of global shipping routes,” said a statement released by the prime minister’s office.

At least 22 people were onboard the Galaxy Leader – reported to be partly owned by an Israeli businessman – which was en route from Turkey to India.

The Houthis said they had seized a ship in that area but described it as Israeli. “We are treating the ship’s crew in accordance with Islamic principles and values,” a spokesperson for the group said, making no reference to the Israeli account.

“We are treating the crew in accordance with Islamic norms and principles,” said Yemen’s Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree in a statement later on Sunday.

He renewed the warning that any ship belonging to Israel or those who support it will be a legitimate target for Houthi forces.

The Houthis, an ally of Tehran, have been launching long-range missile and drone salvoes at Israel in solidarity with the Palestinian Hamas militants fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Japan’s top government spokesperson on Monday also confirmed the capture of the Nippon Yusen-operated ship, Galaxy Leader, adding that Japan was appealing to the Houthis while seeking the help of Saudi, Omani and Iranian authorities to work toward the swift release of the vessel and its crew.