Israel-Palestine war: Japan ‘strongly condemns’ Houthi seizure of vessel in the Red Sea
Japan has denied that Yemen’s Houthi rebels seized a British-owned and Japanese-operated commercial vessel in the Red Sea.
The Iranian-backed group claimed that the boat was carrying an Israeli flag and that the seizure had started a “sea battle”.
Monday, unverified footage purported to show Sunday’s seizure on social media showing masked men wearing headbands emblazoned with the Palestinian flag boarding the vessel via helicopter, the ship was carrying 25 crew members en route to India.
The flagship Galaxy, operated by the Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen is now detained at the port of Hodeidah in Yemen.
“We strongly condemn such actions,” chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference on Monday, adding that ministries and agencies were working with countries such as Saudi Arabia, Oman and of Iran to secure the release of the vessel and its crew. .
He confirmed that there were no Japanese nationals among the team.
The rebels claimed that the vessel was an Israeli cargo ship and the group’s spokesman later informed X that the Houthis would continue to carry out military operations against the enemy of Israel until the attack against Gaza and the heinous crimes stop… i against our Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.”
Israel described the seizure as a “terrorist act by Iran”, which would threaten maritime security and have “global consequences”.
At a press conference on Monday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani denied any Iranian involvement.
“We have said many times that resistance groups in the region act independently and spontaneously based on their interests and the interests of their people,” Kanaani said, adding that Israeli demands were aimed at diverting attention from “an inexorable blow reformed” Israel in the ongoing war. .
The White House has condemned the attack as “a major violation of international law”, and has demanded the immediate release of the ship and its crew.
Yahya Sarea, a spokesman for the Houthis, previously warned that the group would target all ships operated or owned by Israeli companies or carrying the Israeli flag, according to the group’s Telegram channel on Sunday.
Sarea asked all countries to withdraw their citizens who were working on any such ship.
The group said Sunday’s seizure was only the “beginning” of a “sea battle”.
More than 13,000 Palestinians have been killed as a result of Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, which were launched after an October 7 attack by Hamas in southern Israel.
In Yemen, the Houthi movement has launched missile and drone attacks on Israel.
On November 11, former Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was being lobbied by ultra-conservatives to better intervene in the war between Israel and Palestine.