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US considering designating Iran-supported Houthis as a terrorist organization after ship hijacking.

Houthi spokesperson Mohammed Abdul-Salam declared that Israel solely comprehends ‘the language of force’ and pledged to carry out more assaults in international waters.

The Biden administration is considering designating the Iran-backed Houthis as a terrorist organization due to the rebel group’s takeover of a cargo vessel in the Red Sea.

This announcement comes after the Galaxy Leader cargo vessel was seized by the radical Islamist group, with its crew taken captive back on Nov. 19.

John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, stated that the hijacking of the motor vessel Galaxy Leader is an evident violation of international law and part of the Houthis’ escalating hostilities in the region.

He also stated that the attack was “absolutely unacceptable” and the administration, with the support of its allies, will consider “other options” to retaliate against the group. Mr. Kirby emphasized that Iran is complicit in the seizure through its material support and encouragement of the Houthi forces.

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“The Houthis must release the ship immediately, as well as the crew unconditionally.”

Houthis Vow More Attacks

Then-President Donald Trump designated the Houthis as a terror group in January 2021. President Joe Biden reversed that decision when he took office the following month.

However, the group remains classified as a terrorist organization by several Middle Eastern countries, including Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Similar to Hamas, the Houthi group advocates a radical Islamist ideology that calls for the destruction of Israel, exemplified by the group’s slogan in use since the early 2000s: “God is great, death to the United States, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam.”

The connection of the Galaxy Leader to Israel remains unclear. Despite the possibility of Israeli billionaire Abraham Ungar being a part-owner through his company Ray Ltd., the vessel was flagged as Bahamian and operated by the Japanese company NYK Line.

NYK Line noted that the crew members are from the Philippines, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Mexico. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that no Israelis were on board.

The group, nonetheless, affirmed its intention to target ships linked to Israel until the nation ceases war against Hamas in Gaza.

Houthi leadership posted a video showing masked members of the group carrying semi-automatic rifles as they boarded the ship via helicopter and stormed the deck.
In an online statement, Houthi spokesperson Mohammed Abdul-Salam declared that the Israelis only comprehend “the language of force” and pledged to conduct further attacks in international waters.

He stated, “This is the beginning.”

The Houthis indicated that they are treating the crew members “in accordance with their Islamic values,” but did not provide further details about what this entails.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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