Yemen’s Houthi rebels have recently announced that they have taken control of a cargo ship in the southern Red Sea. This seizure comes at a time when tensions are already soaring in the region due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The ship, named Galaxy Leader, was reportedly en route from Turkey to India when it was seized by the Houthis. It has been described as a British-owned and Japanese-operated vessel, with no Israeli nationals on board.
The ownership details of the ship link it to Ray Car Carriers, a company founded by Abraham “Rami” Ungar, who is known as one of the wealthiest individuals in Israel. However, it is important to note that international shipping often involves complex arrangements of management companies, flags, and owners, making ownership attribution a challenging task.
The Houthi military spokesperson, Yahya Saree, stated that the seizure of the ship is a response to the “heinous acts against our Palestinian brothers in Gaza and the West Bank.” The Houthis have been involved in launching missile and drone attacks against Israel since October 7, leading to an Israeli offensive on Gaza. Saree warned that any ship associated with Israel or its supporters would be considered a legitimate target for Houthi forces.
In response to the incident, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement emphasizing that Israel had no involvement in the ship’s ownership, operation, or crew composition. The statement labeled the attack as an “Iranian act of terrorism,” with potential consequences for international maritime security. However, no evidence regarding Iran’s involvement was provided.
Both Japan and the United States have reacted to the ship’s seizure. The Japanese government strongly condemned the act and expressed its concerns. The United States, on the other hand, announced that it is closely monitoring the situation and described the seizure as a flagrant violation of international law. The US National Security Council spokesperson demanded the immediate release of the ship and its crew, while stating that consultations with UN partners would be sought for further actions.
What is the current situation in Yemen?
Yemen is currently experiencing a complex and volatile situation. The Houthi rebels control the northern region of the country and its Red Sea coast, while a Saudi-led coalition supports the internationally-recognized government. The conflict has caused immense humanitarian suffering and has resulted in various regional tensions.
Why did the Houthi rebels seize the cargo ship?
The Houthi rebels stated that the seizure of the cargo ship was in response to what they perceive as “heinous acts” against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. They view the ship as a legitimate target due to its alleged association with Israel or its supporters.
What has been the international response to the ship seizure?
Japan has strongly condemned the seizure and expressed its concerns. The United States has characterized the act as a violation of international law and demanded the immediate release of the ship and its crew. The US will be consulting with its UN partners for further actions.
Does Israel have any involvement in the ship?
No, Israel’s Prime Minister’s office has stated that Israel has no involvement in the ship’s ownership, operation, or the composition of its crew. They have attributed the attack to Iran, although no evidence has been provided to support this claim.