update deskIsrael at War

Yemen’s Houthis publish footage of Galaxy Leader hijacking

The Houthi propaganda video shows a helicopter adorned with the flags of Yemen and the PLO landing on the Israeli-linked vessel.

Iran-backed Houthis hijack a ship on the Red Sea, Nov. 19, 2023. Credit: Screenshot.
Iran-backed Houthis hijack a ship on the Red Sea, Nov. 19, 2023. Credit: Screenshot.

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on Monday evening published a propaganda video purporting to show the previous day’s hijacking of an Israeli-linked ship on the Red Sea.

The four-minute video, shared to X (formerly Twitter) by Houthi spokesman Yahya Sarea, was captioned: “Scenes from the unique military operation of the naval forces, during which the Israeli ship was seized yesterday in the Red Sea.”

The Houthi propaganda clip shows a helicopter adorned with the flags of Yemen and the Palestine Liberation Organization landing on the Galaxy Leader.

At least eight armed terrorists, some wearing bandanas featuring a photo of Hamas spokesperson Abu Obeida, emerge from the chopper and take control of the vessel, pointing their weapons at the civilian crew as they shout “Allahu Akbar.”

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed on Sunday that the Houthis hijacked the cargo ship, calling it a “very grave incident of global consequence.”

“The ship departed Turkey on its way to India, staffed by civilians of various nationalities, not including Israelis. It is not an Israeli ship,” the military added.

The Bahaman-flagged Galaxy Leader is registered by a British company partially owned by Israeli tycoon Abraham Ungar.

The Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem released a statement confirming the ship was being operated by a Japanese firm and had 25 crew members on board from Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Philippines and Mexico.

“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,” according to the statement.

The Houthis’ decision to target Israeli commercial vessels in the Red Sea was made in light “of what the Gaza Strip is being exposed to from the brutal Israeli-American aggression,” the rebel group said on Sunday.

Israel has bolstered its naval presence in the Red Sea area following repeated missile and drone attacks from Yemen.

The IDF said that missile boats were deployed “in accordance with the assessment of the situation, and as part of the increased defense efforts in the region.”

On Nov. 9, Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile at Eilat, which was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow 3 in the aerial-defense system’s first operational use.

On Oct. 31, Israel’s Arrow 2 air defense system for the first time intercepted a surface-to-surface missile fired from the Red Sea area.

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