Ansar Allah (Houthis), the ruling force in most parts of Yemen, announced on Sunday, November 19 that they captured an Israeli ship in the Red Sea. The Houthis claimed the capture of the ship was a part of its war against Israel which they called for in response to Israel’s genocidal violence against Palestinians in Gaza. The group called for an immediate ceasefire.
The Galaxy Leader vessel captured by the Houthis is linked to a British company partially owned by Israeli businessman Abraham Ungar and was leased to Japan at the time of its seizure. It was traveling from Turkey to India when it was captured by Houthis forces off the Yemen coast.
“We urge countries whose nationals work in the Red Sea to stay away from any activity with Israeli ships or those owned by Israelis” spokesperson of the Yemeni armed forces Yahya Saree said on Sunday.
Houthis declared war on Israel following its incessant bombings in besieged Palestinian territory of Gaza since October 7 in which over 13,000 Palestinians, mostly children and women, have been killed and over 30,000 have been injured.
Saree claimed in his video message that, “the operations of the [Yemeni] armed forces threatened only the ships of the Israeli entity and those owned by Israelis.” He, however, asked other countries to withdraw their cooperation with Israelis.
Though Israeli armed forces denied the ship belongs to Israel and claimed there were no Israelis on board the ship which was traveling from Turkey to India, the Houthis claimed they were yet to verify the exact nationalities of the 25 crew members on board.
Yemen’s information minister Deifullah al-Shami during an interview with Al-Mayadeen following the capture of the Galaxy Leader on Sunday claimed that all Israeli ships in the Red Sea are legitimate targets for Yemeni armed forces. “We are dealing with a criminal enemy and it’s impossible for anyone who sees the massacre and the genocide [of Palestinians] to be neutral,” Iranian Press Tv reported.
Deifullah al-Shami warned Israel to stop its atrocities against Palestinians immediately or the conflict will reach other areas of the region.
Yahya Saree also tweeted that, “if the international community is concerned about regional security and stability, rather than expanding the conflict, it should end Israel’s aggression in Gaza.”
Houthis have launched several missiles and drones targeting Eilat in southern Israel. Most of those missiles and drones were either intercepted by Israeli air defense or failed to reach their target.