Houthis shares video showing their hijacking of India-bound shipping vessel in Red Sea

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Image Source : @KAISOS1987/X Snapshot taken from the alleged hijacking video

In a major development, the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen released a purported video that showed how the group hijacked an India-bound shipping vessel in the Red Sea on Sunday. According to a report by The Times of Israel, the footage shows a helicopter landing on the vehicle carrier named the “Galaxy Leader”, with several gunmen getting off and taking control of the ship.

In the alleged video, the rebel gunmen can be seen holding the crew at gunpoint and one of the Houthi operatives was also seen shouting the group’s slogan while walking through the ship: “God is the Greatest, Death to America, Death to Israel, Cursed be the Jews, Victory to Islam.”

This came as a cargo ship “Galaxy Leader” travelling from Turkiye to India was allegedly hijacked by Yemen’s Houthis when it was passing the Red Sea on Sunday.

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Israel calls Iran’s action- “an act of terrorism”

Initially, it was reported that the ship was related to Israel, but later, the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel clarified it has no links with the hijacked vessel and named Iran for the incident. Some media also reported that Israeli citizens were boarded but later it was rebuffed by Tel Aviv.

Denouncing the incident, it said Israel strongly condemns the Iranian attack against an international vessel and added the ship, which is owned by a British company and is operated by a Japanese firm.

Notably, the Houthis, an ally of Tehran, have been launching long-range missile and drone salvoes at Israel in support of Palestine. Last week, the Houthi leader said his forces would make further attacks on Israel and they could target Israeli ships in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, Iran’s Al-Arabiya News reported.

Israel warns Iran of consequences for violating international maritime security

The PM office claimed that the vessel was hijacked with Iran’s guidance by the Yemenite Houthi militia. “Onboard the vessel are 25 crew members of various nationalities including Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Filipino and Mexican. No Israelis are onboard,” it said in a social media post. “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,” it added.

Earlier on Sunday, the Houthis, backed by Israel’s arch-foe Iran, declared their intention to target any ships flying the Israeli flag or owned/operated by Israeli companies, YNET News reported.

In their statement, they called on countries to evacuate their citizens from such vessels and advised against using them to transport goods. They also urged nations to notify these ships to steer clear of their ports.

Iran rejects claims 

On Sunday, US officials also confirmed that the Houthi rebels have hijacked an Israeli-linked cargo ship. Later, on Monday, Iran rejected the claims and asserted it was an independent act of Yemen’s Houthi rebels. In a press conference, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said that Israel has accused Tehran of diverting the attention from the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

“We have stated numerous times that opposition groups in the region act unaided and spontaneously based on their stakes and that of their people,” said Kanaani. “Israeli claims were aimed at diverting attention away from Israel’s irreparable defeat in its battle against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip,” he added.

Also Read: ‘Tactic of Israel’: Iran rejects backing Yemen’s Houthis in seizure of India-bound cargo ship in Red Sea

 

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