Any Ship Belonging to Israel Legitimate Target: Houthi Rebels
With Hamas already holding more than 200 Israeli hostages, Houthi rebels seized an Israeli-linked cargo ship with 25 crew members hostage. The vessel Galaxy Leader was in the Red Sea, on its way to India from Turkey when the Houthis seized it near Yemen.
Despite being owned by an Israeli billionaire, there are no Israelis on the cargo ship. The crew members are nationals of the Philippines, Ukraine, Mexico and Bulgaria, among other countries. The Israeli army confirmed that it is not an Israeli ship. Its owned by a British company and operated by a Japanese firm.
Israel was quick to blame Iran for the ship’s seizure. The Office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the incident. “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.”
Houthi Rebukes Israel for Gaza War
Yahya Saree, Yemen’s Houthi military spokesman, confirmed in a statement that a Houthi official seized the ship. He warned that Houthi will target all ships owned or operated by Israeli companies. “All ships belonging to the Israeli enemy or that deal with it will become legitimate targets. 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.”
He added that the Yemeni Armed Forces will target ships carrying the flag of the Zionist entity, ships operated by Israeli companies, and ships owned by Israeli companies. “The Yemeni Armed Forces also calls on all countries of the world to a withdrawal of its citizens working on the crews of these ships, avoid shipping on or handling these vessels, and inform ships to stay away from these ships.”
Just days ago, the Houthis had threatened to target Israeli vessels in the waterway over Israel’s bombardment in Gaza.
Houthi Rebels Violating International Law
The US National Security Council said the Houthi’s seizure of the vessel Galaxy Leader in the Red Sea is a flagrant violation of international law. “We demand the immediate release of the ship and its crew. We will consult with our UN partners for the appropriate next steps.
Houthis’ chief negotiator and spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam defended their actions saying the Israelis only understand the language of force. “The detention of the Israeli ship is a practical step that proves the seriousness of the Yemeni armed forces in waging the sea battle, regardless of its costs and the costs.”
He said this is just the beginning.