Moment Iran-backed Houthi rebels stormed cargo ship part-owned by Israeli tycoon in the Red Sea

21 November 2023, 12:55 | Updated: 2 January 2024, 07:46

The rebels landed a helicopter on the cargo ship
The rebels landed a helicopter on the cargo ship. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Houthi rebels seized an Israeli-linked cargo ship in the southern Red Sea with gunman dropping on deck by helicopter -taking 25 crew members hostage.

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The move raised fears that regional tensions heightened by the war are spilling into the seas.

The Iran-backed rebel group said it would continue to target ships connected to Israel.

Iran-backed rebels storm ship owned by Israeli tycoon

No Israelis were aboard the Bahamas-flagged Galaxy Leader, which was operated by a Japanese company with crew members from the Philippines, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Mexico.

The Iran-backed rebel group said it would continue to target ships connected to Israel
The Iran-backed rebel group said it would continue to target ships connected to Israel. Picture: Alamy

Public shipping databases associated the ship's owners with Ray Car Carriers, a company founded by Abraham Ungar, who is known as one of the richest people in Israel.

Mr Ungar told The Associated Press he was aware of the incident but could not comment as he awaits further details.

A ship linked to him experienced an explosion in 2021 in the Gulf of Oman. Israeli media blamed this on Iran at the time.

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No Israelis were aboard the Bahamas-flagged Galaxy Leader,
No Israelis were aboard the Bahamas-flagged Galaxy Leader,. Picture: Alamy

The Galaxy Leader was taken to Yemen's port city of Hodeida, according to the UK military's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations.

Japanese officials are negotiating with the rebels for the release of the ship and its crew, according to the country's chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno.

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