Houthis seize Japanese ship in Red Sea after Biden shows weakness toward them and their Iranian sponsor

Houthis seize Japanese ship in Red Sea after Biden shows weakness toward them and their Iranian sponsor
The new face of global conflict. A small craft sits off an island in the Eritrean Dahlak Archipelago in the Red Sea. YouTube, Velvet Rocket

The anti-American, Iranian-backed Houthis control the northern part of the country of Yemen. Today, they seized a Japanese cargo ship in the southern Red Sea. This is part of their campaign of aggression against America’s allies, which escalated after the Biden administration showed weakness by lifting a terrorist designation against the Houthis that the Trump administration had issued.

To seize the ship, the Houthis sent a helicopter to drop fighters onto it. The helicopter hovered over the ship, while several armed Houthi fighters rappelled down to the deck of the Galaxy Leader, which is Japanese-owned and flies the flag of the Bahamas.

The attack off the coast of Yemen comes just days after the Houthis issued a graphic with captions in Hebrew, Arabic and English that said, “We will sink your ships.” The graphic showed an Israeli commercial ship on fire. As NBC News notes,

On Nov. 16, the International Maritime Security Construct, an international group that tries to maintain security in regional waters, issued an advisory to all mariners in the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb trait between Yemen and Djibouti because of the threat, but did not name the Houthis. The advisory warned ships to stay as far away from Yemeni waters as possible and recommended travel at night whenever possible.

A U.S. Defense official said, “We’re aware of the situation and are monitoring it closely.”

A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said via X that, “The hijacking of the cargo ship by the Houthis near Yemen in the southern Red Sea is a very serious event on a global level. This is a ship that left Turkey on its way to India with an international civilian crew, with no Israeli crew members on board. The ship that has been hijacked is not an Israeli ship.”

The Houthis have been fighting the Yemeni military for more than a decade with Iranian backing. Since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas, another Iranian proxy, the Houthis have been launching drones and missiles northward.

On Oct. 19, a U.S. Navy warship shot down multiple drones and three cruise missiles that were fired from Yemen and heading “potentially towards Israel,” a Defense Department spokesman said.

The USS Carney was in the northern Red Sea when it took out the missiles and more than a dozen drones, said Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary.

On Oct. 31, militants believed to be Houthi rebels fired a medium-range ballistic missile from Yemen toward Israel, according to two U.S. officials.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said the missile was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow air defense system, which was jointly developed by Israel and the U.S. The IDF confirmed that a surface-to-surface missile had been fired toward Israeli territory from the direction of the Red Sea, but not did specify whether it had originated in Yemen.

These acts of aggression by the Iranian-backed Houthis came after the Biden administration paid a $6 billion ransom to Iran in exchange for the release of five American hostages.  Iran also gave Hamas weapons it used in its attack on Israel that killed over 1000 civilians, including at least 32 Americans. The Biden administration also released millions of dollars to the Hamas-controlled government of the Gaza strip.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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