Yemen rebels seize UAE ship; hackers hit Israeli newspaper
All three coincided with an enormous memorial in Tehran for Qassem Soleimani, the final killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2020 in Iraq. Iran’s hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi demanded former U.S. President Donald Trump be “prosecuted and killed.”
“If not, I’m telling all American leaders, don’t doubt that the hand of revenge will come out of the sleeves of ummah,” Raisi stated, referring to the worldwide neighborhood of Muslims.
Monday’s occasions spotlight tensions within the Center East, which has been roiled by Trump’s 2018 resolution to unilaterally withdraw America from a deal aimed toward limiting Tehran’s nuclear program. As talks proceed in Vienna to attempt to resuscitate the accord, Iran stays in a position to apply strain from outdoors of the negotiations at the same time as it’s squeezed by sanctions and a shadow battle with Israel.
The taking of the Emirati ship Rwabee marks the newest assault within the Crimson Sea, an important route for worldwide commerce and power shipments. The Iranian-backed Houthis acknowledged the seizure off the coast of Hodeida, a long-contested prize of the grinding battle in Yemen between the rebels and a Saudi-led coalition that features the United Arab Emirates.
First phrase of the Rwabee’s seizure got here from the British army’s United Kingdom Maritime Commerce Operations, which solely stated an assault focused an unnamed vessel round midnight. The coordinates it provided corresponded to the Rwabee, which has hardly ever given its location by way of monitoring information in current months not like most business site visitors within the area, based on the web site MarineTraffic.com.
An announcement from the Saudi-led coalition, carried by state media within the kingdom, acknowledged the assault hours later, saying the Houthis had dedicated an act of “armed piracy” involving the vessel. The coalition asserted the ship carried medical gear from a dismantled Saudi discipline hospital within the distant island of Socotra, with out providing proof.
“The militia should promptly launch the ship or the coalition forces will undertake all essential measures and procedures to deal with this violation, together with using power if essential,” Brig. Gen. Turki al-Malki stated in a press release.
The Houthis later aired footage from the Rwabee on their Al-Masirah satellite tv for pc information channel. It confirmed military-style inflatable rafts, vehicles and different automobiles on the vessel, a touchdown craft that lowers a ramp to permit gear to roll on and off. One temporary clip confirmed what seemed to be a set of rifles inside a container.
“It’s utterly apparent at this time that the data that this ship was carrying a civilian discipline hospital shouldn’t be appropriate,” stated Yahia Sarei, a Houthi army spokesman. “That is clearly army gear.”
Saudi state tv alleged the Houthis transferred the weapons onto the ship.
An worker on the vessel’s homeowners, Abu Dhabi-based Liwa Marine Companies, advised The Related Press in a phone name that the Rwabee appeared to have been the goal however stated that they had no different info. The worker declined to remark additional and hung up earlier than giving their title.
An analogous assault occurred in 2016 involving the Emirati vessel SWIFT-1, which had been crusing forwards and backwards within the Crimson Sea between an Emirati troop base in Eritrea and Yemen. The vessel got here beneath assault by Houthi forces in 2016. The Emirati authorities asserted the SWIFT-1 had carried humanitarian assist; U.N. consultants later stated of the declare that they had been “unconvinced of its veracity.”
No group instantly claimed duty for the hacking of the Jerusalem Submit’s web site. The hackers changed the Submit’s homepage with a picture depicting a missile coming from a fist bearing a hoop lengthy related to Soleimani.
The picture additionally depicted an exploding goal used throughout a current Iranian army drill that was designed to seem like the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Analysis Heart close to the Israeli metropolis of Dimona. The ability is residence to decades-old underground laboratories that reprocess spent rods from a nuclear reactor to acquire weapons-grade plutonium for Israel’s nuclear bomb program.
Beneath its coverage of nuclear ambiguity, Israel neither confirms nor denies having atomic weapons.
In a tweet, the Submit acknowledged being the goal of hackers.
“We’re conscious of the obvious hacking of our web site, alongside a direct menace to Israel,” the English-language newspaper wrote.
The newspaper later restored its web site. It famous Iran-supporting hackers beforehand focused its homepage in 2020.
The hack got here after Israel’s former army intelligence chief in late December publicly acknowledged his nation was concerned in Soleimani’s killing. The U.S. drone killed the final as he was leaving Baghdad’s worldwide airport.
In Iraq on Monday, troops shot down two so-called “suicide drones” at that very same airport, American and Iraqi officers stated. No group instantly claimed the assault, although one of many drones’ wings had the phrases “Soleimani’s revenge” painted on it in Arabic. Militias backed by Iran have been suspected in comparable assaults. No accidents or harm had been reported.
As the pinnacle of the elite Quds, or Jerusalem, Power of the Revolutionary Guard, Soleimani led all of its expeditionary forces and often shuttled amongst Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Quds Power members have deployed in Syria to help President Bashar Assad in that nation’s lengthy battle, in addition to in Iraq within the wake of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, a longtime foe of Tehran.
Soleimani rose to prominence by advising forces combating the Islamic State group in Iraq and in Syria on behalf of the embattled Assad.
U.S. officers say the Guard beneath Soleimani taught Iraqi militants easy methods to manufacture and use particularly lethal roadside bombs towards U.S. troops. Iran has denied that.
Related Press writers Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, Isabel DeBre in Dubai, Samy Magdy in Cairo and Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad contributed to this report.
Observe Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.