Yemen’s Houthis reportedly seize ship in Red Sea

In a televised statement on Sunday, Yahya Sarea, the military spokesperson for Yemen’s Houthis, claimed the group had seized an Israeli ship in the southern Red Sea and taken it to a Yemeni port.

Earlier, Israel had reported that the Iran-aligned group seized a British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship in the southern Red Sea. A U.S. Defense official confirmed awareness of the situation, stating, “We’re aware of the situation and are closely monitoring it.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office clarified that the seized ship, which remained unnamed, had no Israeli connections or Israeli crew on board. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno stated in a news conference that there were no Japanese nationals on board the Nippon Yusen-operated ship, the Galaxy Leader.

Matsuno condemned the act, expressing Japan’s firm stance and collaboration with relevant countries for the early release of the vessel and its crew.

The Houthis, known allies of Tehran, have been launching long-range missile and drone salvoes at Israel, expressing solidarity with Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Earlier on Sunday, the Houthis announced that all ships owned or operated by Israeli companies or carrying the Israeli flag could be targeted.