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Israel-linked tanker seized off Yemen — US official

By AFP - Nov 26,2023 - Last updated at Nov 26,2023

DUBAI — A tanker linked to an Israel-affiliated company was seized off Yemen on Sunday by armed individuals, a US defence official confirmed, following a series of incidents on the same shipping route.

"There are indications that an unknown number of unidentified armed individuals seized the M/V Central Park in the Gulf of Aden November 26. US and coalition forces are in the vicinity and we are closely monitoring the situation," the official told AFP.

The maritime security firm Ambrey said that "US naval forces are engaged in the situation" after the incident involving the Central Park, which is owned and managed by a UK-based, Israel-linked company.

Owner Zodiac Maritime said that among the 22 crew were Russian, Vietnamese, Bulgarian, Indian, Georgian and Filipino nationals, as well as a Turkish captain, according to Ambrey.

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

The latest incident comes after a US defence official said an Israeli-owned cargo ship was damaged in a suspected Iranian drone attack in the Indian Ocean on Friday, and a week after Houthis seized an Israel-linked cargo vessel in the southern Red Sea.

The Houthis, declaring themselves part of the “axis of resistance” of Iran-affiliated groups, have launched a series of drone and missile strikes targeting Israel since the unprecedented October 7 surprise attack by Hamas fighters on Israel.

Gaza’s government says that nearly 15,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israeli aerial bombardment and ground operations in the Palestinian territory since the war began.

 

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