Japan ‘directly approaching’ Houthi rebels who hijacked cargo ship in Red Sea
Tokyo announced on Monday that it is “communicating with Israel” in addition to other countries in an effort to get the Galaxy Leader released.
The ship is notably owned by an Israeli businessman and is run by a Japanese company.
The previous day, as the ship was travelling from Turkey to India, it was attacked by a group of rebels from Yemen. According to the group, Israel’s “heinous acts” in Gaza were the reason behind the attack, Al Jazeera reported.
The Japanese government has “strongly condemned” this action. Tokyo has asked other nations that are concerned–Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and others–to take part in efforts to get the rebels to promptly release the ship and the captives.
In addition to directly addressing the Houthis, Tokyo is “communicating with Israel, and stated that it is also urging Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and other countries concerned to strongly urge the Houthis for the early release of the vessel and crew members, according to Al Jazeera.
“Our government will continue to take necessary measures in cooperation with the countries concerned while taking into account the situation,” Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the hijacking of an international vessel by Iran-backed Houthis in the Red Sea on Sunday and called it a “very serious incident on the global scale.”
Taking to X, the Israeli PMO said, “Israel strongly condemns the Iranian attack against an international vessel. The ship, which is owned by a British company and is operated by a Japanese firm, was hijacked with Iran’s guidance by the Yemenite Houthi militia.”
It also shared, “Onboard the vessel are 25 crew members of various nationalities, including Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Filipino and Mexican. No Israelis are onboard.”
Condemning the hijack, it said, “This is another act of Iranian terrorism and constitutes a leap forward in Iran’s aggression against the citizens of the free world, with international consequences regarding the security of the global shipping lanes.”
Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said that the ship was sailing from Turkey to India with an international civilian crew, without any Israelis aboard, and added, “This is not an Israeli ship,” The Times of Israel reported.