News & U.S. Politics

Wild Video Shows Yemeni Rebels Hijacking A Cargo Ship In The Red Sea

Newly released footage depicts an Iranian-backed militia hijacking a cargo ship in the Red Sea on Sunday.

The Houthis, a Yemeni rebel group backed by Iran, hijacked the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in the Red Sea and took dozens of crew members hostage on Sunday, according to Iran International. A spokesman for the Houthis released a video on Monday of the hijacking operation.

The footage depicts a helicopter approaching the cargo ship and dropping off a squadron of Houthi rebels. The operatives infiltrate the bridge of the ship and take crew members hostage before scouring the rest of the boat for other crew personnel, according to the video. (RELATED: Iran-Backed Houthi Rebels Shoot Down US Drone)

After hijacking the rest of the Galaxy Leader and detaining more than two dozen crew members, the Houthis began sailing the ship back to a Yemeni port, guided by smaller attack vessels and a helicopter, according to the footage and Iran International.

It appears the Houthis hijacked the vessel because they believed it was being operated by Israelis, according to a description of the operation by the Houthi spokesman. The Houthis warned on Sunday that all ships being operated by Israelis in the Red Sea or the Bab el-Mandeb Strait would be targeted, Iran International reported.

There were no Israelis onboard at the time of the hijacking and the ship is not owned or operated by Israel, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. The ship is British-owned and was being operated by a Japanese firm at the time, the office said.

Netanyahu blamed Iran for the attacks on Sunday.

“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,” Netanyahu’s office said on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday.

Iran has denied involvement in the hijacking operation, according to Iran International.

The Japanese government said it “strongly condemns” the hijacking and was “directly approaching” the Houthis to demand the ship’s release, according to Iran International.

“We are also urging Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and other countries concerned to strongly urge the Houthis for the early release of the vessel and crew members,” Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said on Monday, according to Iran International.

The Houthis are one of many Iranian-backed militias that have been launching attacks against Israel and U.S. forces in the Middle East.

The Houthis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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