Japan has reacted strongly against the Houthis over the hijacking of the Galaxy Leader ship

The Japanese government said it strongly condemned the hijacking of the Galaxy Leader ship in the Red Sea by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels

"We have received information that the Galaxy Leader, operated by Nippon Yusen, was captured by the Houthis as it headed south in the Red Sea off Yemen... We strongly condemn this act," government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said, AFP reported.

Houthi rebels earlier said they had seized an Israeli ship, but Israel said it was British-owned and had no Israeli citizens on board.

The ship's Japanese operator, Nippon Yusen, said earlier that it could not confirm who owned the ship.

The Japanese Ministry of Transport reported that there were about 25 people on board, including Bulgarians and Filipinos, but no Japanese. /BGNES