Second tanker reportedly seized by gunmen in Red Sea after Houthi threats

Yemen's Houthi militant group has warned it could intervene in Israel-Gaza war

A region of the Red Sea off the coast of Hodeidah, Yemen. The Central Park had reportedly been told to divert to the port of Hodeidah. EPA
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Suspected Houthi militiamen have seized a second commercial vessel in the Red Sea, near the port of Aden, shipping security company Ambrey said on Sunday.

The incident involving the Central Park will, if confirmed, be the second attack by the group on commercial shipping in just over a week after the car carrier Galaxy Leader, linked to British-Israeli firm Ray Car Carriers, was seized by Houthis who boarded the boat from a helicopter.

Ray Car Carriers is owned by Israeli billionaire shipping mogul Abraham “Rami” Ungar. The latest alleged incident follows warnings from the Yemeni rebel group that it will target commercial shipping linked to Israel in the Red Sea, as well as US vessels.

The group has warned the US, which backs Israel, that it could intervene in the Gaza-Israel war.

Ambrey said "US naval forces are engaged in the situation" after the incident involving the Central Park vessel owned and managed by a UK-based, Israel-linked company.

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels had previously threatened to attack the tanker if it did not divert to the port of Hodeidah, it said.

Communications from a US coalition warship had been intercepted warning the Central Park to disregard the messages, Ambrey added.

The boarding took place offshore from the Yemeni port city of Aden, with another vessel in the area reporting "an approach by eight persons on two skiffs wearing military uniforms", Ambrey said.

Israel has vowed to "crush" Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, after the Palestinian militants killed 1,200 people and took about 240 hostages on October 7, according to Israeli authorities.

Gaza's Hamas government says nearly 15,000 people have been killed in Israeli aerial bombardments and ground operations in the Palestinian territory since.

Updated: November 26, 2023, 1:43 PM