The Israeli authorities stated on Sunday that Yemen’s Houthi militia had hijacked a ship within the Purple Sea.
There was no instant affirmation from the Houthis, an Iran-backed militia, concerning the alleged hijacking. Solely hours earlier, that they had issued an announcement threatening to focus on Israeli flagged, owned and operated ships traversing the Purple Sea. In the identical assertion, the Houthis warned international locations to withdraw their nationals engaged on such ships, to keep away from their freight and to sail away from such vessels.
The Israeli navy referred to as the episode on Sunday a “grave occasion,” saying that the ship was en path to India from Turkey and had an “worldwide crew, with out Israelis.”
“This isn’t an Israeli ship,” the navy stated in an announcement.
The workplace of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel echoed that in an announcement of its personal, saying that the vessel was British-owned and operated by a Japanese firm. It had 25 crew members on board, the assertion stated, condemning the assault with out naming the vessel.
Information reviews recognized the ship because the Galaxy Chief, which bore no apparent hyperlinks to Israel. The ship sailed beneath the flag of the Bahamas — a well-liked place for ship registration due to tax benefits — and is listed as a car service owned by an Isle of Man-based agency referred to as Ray Automotive Carriers Ltd, based on Marine Visitors, a real-time maritime knowledge platform.
The corporate’s useful proprietor seems to have sooner or later been the Israeli billionaire Rami Ungar, based on the Paradise Papers, a significant leak of confidential paperwork that uncovered a hidden world of wealth and ownerships. Mr. Ungar — who’s routinely cited as the last word proprietor of Ray Automotive Carriers in maritime commerce media — didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
The 620-foot Galaxy Chief departed from Turkey’s port of Korfez on Nov. 12 and was headed to India’s Pipavav, based on Marine Visitors. It final transmitted its location on Saturday morning from the center of the Purple Sea, off the coasts of Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
Help for the Palestinian trigger and hostility towards Israel has lengthy been a pillar of the Houthi narrative. For the reason that Israeli navy started its bombardment of Gaza — responding to the Oct. 7 assaults by Hamas, the Iran-backed armed group that controls Gaza — Houthi leaders have issued repeated threats to enter the fray. Final month, the Houthis claimed an tried assault on southern Israel and stated the group would possibly assault Israeli ships within the Purple Sea.
The Houthis took over the Yemeni capital, Sana, in 2014. After an unsuccessful try by a Saudi-led navy coalition to rout it, the group now guidelines a lot of northern Yemen.
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