In a significant escalation of tensions, Houthi rebels in Yemen seized control of the Bahamas-flagged Galaxy Leader, a cargo ship associated with Israeli billionaire Abraham "Rami" Ungar.
The rebels, backed by Iran, claim the hijacking is in response to the ship's connection to Israel and vow to target vessels linked to or owned by Israelis until the end of Israel's campaign against Gaza's Hamas rulers.
As reported by The Hindu, the Houthi rebels, in an ominous declaration, state that "all ships belonging to the Israeli enemy or that deal with it will become legitimate targets".
The 25-member crew, comprising various nationalities, is being held hostage, with the rebels asserting they will treat them "in accordance with their Islamic values".
Despite Israeli officials claiming the ship is British-owned and Japanese-operated, ownership details in public shipping databases associate it with Abraham Ungar's Ray Car Carriers, who is known as one of the richest men in Israel.
The incident follows recent confrontations involving US warships intercepting missiles or drones from Yemen believed to be targeting Israel.
The USS Carney intercepted Houthi-launched missiles, while the USS Thomas Hudner shot down a drone originating in Yemen.
The Red Sea, a crucial shipping route, remains a focal point for global trade and energy supplies.
The Houthi threat to target Israeli-linked ships heightens concerns about the broader implications of regional conflicts, with fears of a wider escalation as Israel continues its campaign against Hamas.
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