Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels had previously threatened to attack the tanker. (File)
A tanker linked to an Israel-affiliated company was seized off the coast of Yemen on Sunday by unidentified 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 Nov. 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 vessel, owned and managed by a UK-based, Israel-linked company.
Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi 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.
It 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 Huthis seized an Israel-linked cargo ship in the southern Red Sea.
The Huthis, declaring themselves part of the "axis of resistance" of Iran-affiliated groups, have launched a series of drone and missile strikes targeting Israel since October, following an unprecedented attack by Hamas militants on Israel.
Israel has vowed to "crush" Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, after the Palestinian militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took around 240 hostages on October 7, according to Israeli authorities.
Gaza's Hamas government says nearly 15,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israeli aerial bombardment and ground operations in the Palestinian territory since then.
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