Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Houthi militants hijacked a cargo ship near Yemen in the southern Red Sea on Sunday as fighting renewed at the Israel-Lebanon border.
The Houthis, a militant group, has been fighting a civil war since 2014 against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and a third faction, backed by the United Arab Emirates, that is against both the Houthis and the Saudi-backed forces.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE both consider the Houthis, an anti-imperialist insurgency that also condemns the United States and its support for Israel, to be a terrorist organization. The United States backs the Saudis in the Yemeni conflict.
"The hijacking of a cargo ship by the Houthis near Yemen in the southern Red Sea is a very grave incident of global consequence," the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
"The ship departed Turkey on its way to India, staffed by civilians of various nationalities, not including Israelis. It is not an Israeli ship."
The hijacking of the cargo ship shows how tensions in the broader Middle East have escalated since Oct. 7, when the Palestinian militia Hamas attacked Israel. Hamas has blamed that attack on raids of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and Israeli settler violence earlier this year.
The Hezbollah-operated TV station Al-Manar reported that the ship was believed to be owned by Israeli businessman Rami Unger and registered in Britain. Hezbollah is the armed political party created to oppose Israeli occupation in southern Lebanon in the 1980s. After fighting a civil war in Lebanon, the party survived and has continued to oppose Israel.
Yemeni Houthis, in a statement carried by Hezbollah media, said that the targeting of ships is in response to "daily massacres and genocide" in Gaza, where more than 11,000 people have been killed because of what they called "brutal Israeli-American aggression."
The Houthis said they would target all ships "carrying the flag of the Zionist entity" and owned or operated by Israeli companies.
Meanwhile, fighting has renewed at the border between Israel and Lebanon, according to the IDF and Hezbollah. The Lebanese group said it fired at several targets and directly hit the Kibbutz Hanita in Israel.
"An aerial target that crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory was intercepted by the IDF Aerial Defense Array," the IDF said in its statement. "In response, the IDF is striking in Lebanon."