Jerusalem. Yemen’s Houthi rebels hijacked an Israeli cargo ship on a vital Red Sea shipping route on Sunday, Israel said. The ship was in the port of Turkey and on its way to Pipavav, India when Israel learned of the incident. After this incident, it is feared that the regional tension due to Israel-Hamas conflict may spread to a new maritime front.
There was no immediate comment from Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. On Sunday, the rebels threatened to target Israeli ships in the Red Sea. Last month, Houthi rebels were suspected of sending missiles and drones through key maritime shipping routes.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the hijacked Bahamas-flagged ship had 25 crew members of various nationalities, including Bulgarians, Filipinos, Mexicans and Ukrainians, but no Israelis. Netanyahu’s office condemned the kidnapping of the ‘Galaxy Leader’, calling it an “Iranian terrorist act”. The Israeli military described the abduction as “a very serious incident with global consequences”.
Israeli officials insist the ship is British-owned and operated by Japan. However, ownership details in the public shipping database link the ship’s owners to ‘Ray Car Carriers’, which was founded by Abraham “Rami” Unger, known as one of Israel’s richest men.
US MPs, angry with Pakistan, said that military aid should be stopped immediately, this is the reason
Unger told The Associated Press that he was aware of the incident but could not comment as he awaited details. Satellite data from a shipping traffic website analyzed by the AP showed the Galaxy Leader was traveling in the Red Sea southwest of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, until a few hours ago.
First Published: November 20, 2023, 24:08 IST