Iran-backed Houthi rebels from Yemen have hijacked a cargo ship in the Red Sea, the Israeli military said. The ship was on its way from Turkey to India. According to Israeli media, the ship, the Galaxy Leader, is operated by a company partly owned by British-Israeli businessman Rami Ungar. It sails under the flag of the Bahamas. According to correspondent Ralph Dekkers, this could have major consequences for shipping. ‘A quarter of all oil passes through the Red Sea.’
Yemeni Houthi rebels hijack Red Sea ship
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“It does not appear to be an Israeli ship,” says Dekkers, who points out that it belongs to a British company that partly has an Israeli owner. According to the correspondent, the Yemeni Houthis had previously said that they would stop all Israeli ships or ships on their way to Israel.
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The Israelis speak of ‘a very serious incident at global level’. The military emphasizes that the vessel is not Israeli property and there are no Israeli crew members on board. Reports on how many crew are on board range from 22 to 25. “This is yet another Iranian act of terror that represents an escalation of Iranian warmongering against the citizens of the free world, with attendant international consequences for the security of global shipping lanes,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.
Hamas command post
Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continue to search for the Hamas command post under Al-Shifa Hospital. According to Dekkers, the IDF has discovered a Hama tunnel under the hospital that is now being investigated. ‘They sent some kind of robot into the tunnel, the tunnel ends at a steel door. The Israelis suspect a command post behind it.’ There are fears that there are booby traps.
A temporary ceasefire will be declared today, the Egyptian press reports. According to Dekkers, this would mean a five-day pause in fighting during which fifty to seventy Israeli hostages, mainly women and children, would be released in exchange for one hundred and fifty Palestinian prisoners, also women and children. Humanitarian aid would also be allowed into the Gaza Strip.
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