The Yemen-based Houthi rebel group released a video on Monday that showed its armed men dropping from a helicopter and seizing a cargo ship bound to India. The rebels insist that the ship is Israeli, a claim that the latter has denied and a Japanese government spokesperson said it was operated by Nippon Yusen.
The video purpotedly shows some of the crew members with their hands up in the air as the rebels fired shots in the ship and later seizing control of the bridge. A later part of the video shows small boats moving around and alongside the ship.
The video footage was released by the Houthis TV channel Al Masirah, a day after the ship was hijacked on Sunday by Houithi rebels. The Iran-backed rebels said they hijacked the ship over its connection to Israel and would continue to target ships in international waters that were linked to or owned by Israelis until the end of Israel's campaign against Gaza's Hamas rulers.
Israel however, insisted the ship was British-owned and Japanese-operated. Japan on Monday condemned the hijacking. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the Japanese government was doing its utmost for an early release of the crew through negotiations with Houthi rebels, while also communicating with Israel and cooperating with the governments of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iran.