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Helicopter-Borne Militants Seize Israeli-Linked Ship: Video

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Iran-backed rebels seize Israel-linked ship
The helicopter landed on the Galaxy Leader ship, deploying militants in tactical gear. (Screenshot)

On Monday, Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen released video footage depicting an armed group descending onto the Galaxy Leader, a cargo vessel hijacked via helicopter in the Red Sea on Sunday.

The video, aired by the Houthi TV channel Al Masirah, shows the helicopter landing on the ship, deploying individuals in tactical gear. The footage captures the hijackers boarding the cargo ship, holding some of its 25-person crew at gunpoint throughout the three-minute-long clip.

The Galaxy Leader, registered under a British company partially owned by an Israeli businessman, operates under a Bahamian flag and was leased to the Japanese company Nippon Yusen during the incident, as reported by The Times of Israel.

“All communications were subsequently lost with the vessel,” stated Galaxy Maritime Ltd, the ship’s owner, to Reuters on Monday. The owner confirmed the ship had been “illegally boarded by military personnel via a helicopter,” noting the diverse crew from Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Philippines, Mexico, and Romania.

Bulgarian national Danail Veselinov, a 39-year-old military veteran, was among the crew during the hijacking. His wife, Sabina, recounted their last conversation on Saturday, expressing uncertainty about their release. Houthi rebels targeted the ship due to its Israeli connections, declaring any Israeli-linked vessels as “legitimate targets” until the Gaza conflict ends.

The Israeli Defense Forces labeled the incident a “very grave incident of global consequence,” while the office of President Benjamin Netanyahu deemed it an “Iranian act of terror.” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller denounced the hijacking as a “flagrant violation of international law,” demanding the immediate release of the ship and crew.

The Japanese government and Bulgarian authorities also condemned the incident, with negotiation efforts initiated, and psychological support offered to the families of the kidnapped crew.

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