Yemen's Iran-allied, Houthi rebels, hijacked a ship in the Red Sea and took its 25 crew members hostage. Although the vessel was flying the Bahamian flag, the assailants claimed that the ship has commercial links with Israel. The Houthis noted that this is the first attack of its kind, and it will not be the last until the Israeli ground offensive on Gaza ends. The Office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the incident - which it described as " very serious and with global consequences" - and categorically denied that the ship had any relationship with the Jewish State.
Yemen's Houthi faction said it captured an Israeli ship in the Red Sea and took it to a Yemeni port. Israel said the ship was a British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship https://t.co/bV0JQ4zgnQ pic.twitter.com/nG51pHiIx0
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 19, 2023
NEW VIDEO: Yemen’s Houthi rebels hijack a cargo ship in the Red Sea over the weekend pic.twitter.com/pkkUJpbe5c
— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) November 20, 2023
Israel warns of "international consequences" of kidnapping
The Houthis boarded the British-owned cargo ship Galaxy Leader, operated by a Japanese company, on Sunday afternoon. The rebels confirmed responsibility for the assault and warned that "all ships belonging to or dealing with the Israeli enemy will become legitimate targets." The Japanese government condemned the act, as reported by Reuters, and demanded the release of the ship and crew. The Japanese Executive also indicated that it has requested the intervention of Saudi Arabia, Oman and even Iran.
For his part, Netanyahu accused Tehran of organizing the kidnapping in collaboration with the Houthis and warned of the "international consequences" of this "act of Iranian terrorism" for "the security of global shipping routes." The Israeli Prime Minister also stressed that among the 25 kidnapped crew members, none have Israeli nationality.
Statement by Prime Minister's Office:
Israel strongly condemns the Iranian attack against an international vessel.
The ship, which is owned by a British company and is operated by a Japanese firm, was hijacked with Iran guidance by the Yemenite Houthi militia.
— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) November 19, 2023
The offensive in Gaza continues
The Israeli Defense Forces' ground offensive continued to expose Hamas leaders' use of the civilian population as human shields. The troops deployed eliminated numerous terrorists who attacked them from civilian areas with anti-tank missiles and explosives and captured a large amount of terrorist infrastructure.
The IDF is continuing and expanding its operational activities in Gaza.
Over the past day, our forces conducted activities in the Zaytun and Jabaliya areas, during which they encountered terrorists who intentionally operated from civilian areas and attacked the troops using…
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 18, 2023
Israeli aviation hits Hezbollah targets in Lebanon
In addition, Israeli aviation announced that it hit Hezbollah targets in Lebanese territory after receiving anti-tank missiles and mortar shells from this area. Among the points reached, the IDF highlighted " a Hezbollah military complex, a military outpost and infrastructure used to direct terrorist activity."
An Operational Update on Israel’s Northern Border:
🔺In response to launches over the 24hrs, IDF fighter jets struck Hezbollah terrorist targets in Lebanese territory earlier today.
The targets: a Hezbollah military compound, a military post and infrastructure used for…
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 19, 2023