The Houthis’ seizure of a ship in the Red Sea, according to the White House on Tuesday, is a blatant breach of international law, and Iran is involved.
John Kirby, the national security spokesperson for the White House, made the statement in response to the Houthis’ capture of a cargo ship in the southern Red Sea that was owned and operated by Japan and Britain.
In response, Kirby stated that the US is examining “terrorist designations.” He demanded that the sailors and ship be freed from the Houthis.
The Houthi militia in Yemen issued a warning on Monday, citing Israeli ships as a “legitimate target,” following the capture of a cargo ship with ties to Israel that added a new facet to the Gaza conflict.
Sunday’s capture of the Galaxy Leader and its 25 international crew came days after the Iran-backed Houthis threatened to target Israeli shipping over the Israel-Hamas war.
The Houthis, declaring themselves part of the “axis of resistance” of Iran’s allies and proxies, have also launched a series of drones and missiles towards Israel.
The Bahamas-flagged, British-owned Galaxy Leader is operated by a Japanese firm but has links to Israeli businessman Abraham “Rami” Ungar.
The Houthis said the capture was in retaliation for Israel’s war against Hamas, sparked by the October 7 attack by the Palestinian militants who killed 1,200 people and took about 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials