An alleged video of the hijacked cargo ship ‘Galaxy Leader’ has been released by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The rebels, who had promised to target Israeli ships because of the war against Hamas, insist the ship is Israeli. Israel has denied it, adding that it also has no Israeli national on board.
The ship from Turkey was on its way to India when it was hijacked yesterday. The chilling two-minute clip shows the hijacking.
The rebels had arrived in a helicopter that landed on the deck of the ship, where no one was present. Then they shout slogans and shoot shots, run across the deck and take over the wheelhouse and control center.
The few crew members seen in the video are completely surprised and raise their hands. The other rebels are seen running through the ship and firing shots.
The ship was diverted to the Yemeni port of Salif in Hodeida province, news agency AFP reported, citing maritime security company Ambrey and a Yemeni maritime source.
The seizure “is just the beginning,” Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday, promising further maritime attacks until Israel halts its Gaza campaign.
The Bahamas-flagged vessel was carrying approximately 25 crew members from various countries. It is owned by a British company linked to Israeli tycoon Abraham “Rami” Ungar. At the time of the hijacking, the ship was leased to a Japanese company.
The Houthis, backed by Iran, have vowed to target Israeli-linked ships in the Red Sea. After the hijacking, they insisted that Israeli ships are “legitimate targets.” “Israeli ships are legitimate targets for us everywhere… and we will not hesitate to take action,” said Major General Ali Al-Moshki, a Huthi military official. This was reported by the group’s TV station Al-Massirah, according to AFP.
Israel has denounced the hijacking and condemned Iran.
“Israel strongly condemns the Iranian attack on an international ship,” said a message on X from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. “This is yet another act of Iranian terrorism and represents a leap forward in Iranian aggression against the citizens of the free world, with international implications for the security of global shipping lanes,” another message said.
Iran has rejected the accusations.