VIDEO: Houthi rebels land helo on tanker and seize the crew.

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Yemen’s Houthi rebels have released footage of the moment the group’s gunmen seized an “Israeli-linked” cargo ship in a crucial Red Sea shipping route. The ship’s Japanese operator, NYK Line, said the vessel had no cargo at the time of the hijacking.

Israeli officials insisted the ship was British-owned and Japanese-operated, however, ownership details in public shipping databases associated the ship’s owners with Ray Car Carriers, founded by Abraham “Rami” Ungar, who is known as one of the richest men in Israel.

Key points:

  • The video shows several Houthi gunmen being dropped onto the cargo ship from a helicopter
  • The group says it will continue to target ships with links to Israel until it ends its campaign in Gaza
  • Officials say the ship’s 25 crew are from the Philippines, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Mexico and they have been taken hostage

The Iran-backed Houthis said it hijacked the ship on Sunday over its connection to Israel, and would continue to target ships in international waters that were linked to or owned by Israelis until the end of Israel’s campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

“All ships belonging to the Israeli enemy or that deal with it will become legitimate targets,” the group said.

The gunmen took the ship’s 25 crew members hostage, officials said, raising fears that regional tensions heightened over the Israel-Gaza war were playing out on a new maritime front.

The ship’s owner, Isle of Man-registered Galaxy Maritime Ltd, said the ship is now in the Hodeidah port area in Yemen.

“All communications were subsequently lost with the vessel,” the company said in a statement.