G7 calls on Houthi rebels to release seized cargo ship
Ministers of foreign affairs from the Group of Seven (G7) countries on Wednesday called on Houthi rebels in Yemen to "immediately cease" threatening maritime transport and to release the crew of a cargo ship they seized in the Red Sea 10 days ago.
In a statement, the G7 ministers said they "call on all parties to refrain from threatening or obstructing the lawful exercise of the rights and freedoms of navigation by all vessels."
"In particular, we call on the Houthis to immediately cease attacks on civilians and threats to international maritime lanes and commercial vessels, and to release the M/V Galaxy Leader and its crew, which was illegally captured in international waters on November 19," they added.
The Houthi rebels, who are allied with Iran, seized the commercial vessel with 25 crew members in retaliation for the war waged by Israel against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, a response to the bloody and unprecedented attack by the Palestinian movement on Israeli territory on October 7.
The hijacked Galaxy Leader, flying the flag of the Bahamas, was operated by a Japanese shipping company, but belongs to a British company owned in part by Israeli billionaire Abraham Ungar.
An attempt to capture M/V Central Park, an Israeli-owned oil tanker, was also thwarted on Sunday in the Gulf of Aden by the USS Mason, a U.S. destroyer, which immediately arrested the five suspected attackers, who are believed to be Somali pirates.
On Friday, another ship with ties to Israel was lightly damaged in the Indian Ocean by an Iranian-made Shahed explosive drone, without any injuries being reported.
Translation by Iurie Tataru