On October 31, Houthi rebels launched what they described as a “large number” of ballistic missiles and drones towards Israel.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels released a video on Monday that they said showed the group’s hijacking of an Israeli ship the day before in response to the ongoing Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip.
The video shared by the Houthi rebels documented Sunday’s operation in the southern Red Sea up close, showing its naval forces’ helicopter, covered with the Palestinian and Yemeni flags, landing on the vessel, the “Galaxy Leader”.
The footage then showed a number of hooded armed men taking captive what appeared to be the ship’s crew, though the number of the captives has not been specified by the group.
One Houthi rebel inside the ship can be heard chanting “Death to America, death to Israel” in the video as others were raising the Yemeni and Palestinian flags on the deck of the vessel.
“If America and Israel stop the killing of Palestinians in Gaza and bring in water, medicine and food, then we can talk about the Israeli ship,” Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, a senior member of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, said in a post on X on Monday.
The operation has dealt a major blow to Israel, which has since denied that the vessel is Israeli and maintained that none of its nationals were on board. However, other reports pointed to the ship being partially owned by a businessman from the occupying state.
Speaking in an interview on Al-Masirah, Brig Gen Abdallah Bin Amer of the Houthi forces’ Moral Guidance Department said the seizure of the ship marked the start of a “full naval blockade by Yemen on the Israeli maritime traffic in the southern parts of the Red Sea”.
Bin Amer added that a partial blockade in the northern parts of the Red Sea was also in force. He noted that the ships flowing to or from the Israeli Red Sea port of Eilat to Asia, Australia or East Africa would be forced to divert its routes by taking a longer path around Africa via the Mediterranean Sea.
Consequently, Israel would have to pay a heavy additional fee, Bin Amer explained.
Meanwhile, the information minister in Yemen’s internationally recognised government, Muammar Al-Eryani, described the Houthi capture of the ship as a “fully-fledged act of piracy and organised state terrorism”.
The latest Houthi operation follows a number of attacks on Israel since the start of the war on Gaza on October 7.
On October 31, Houthi rebels launched what they described as a “large number” of ballistic missiles and drones towards Israel, which marked the first time the group claimed the attack.
Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said at the time that it was the third operation targeting Israel and threatened to carry out further attacks “until the Israeli aggression stops”.