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Yemen rebels seize UAE ship; hackers hit Israeli newspaper

A man lifts an anti-US and anti-Israel placard as members and supporters of Iraq's al-Hashed al-Shaabi ex-paramilitary alliance take part in a demonstration and a symbolic funeral for Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad, on January 1, 2022. (Sabah Arar/AFP)
A man lifts an anti-US and anti-Israel placard as members and supporters of Iraq's al-Hashed al-Shaabi ex-paramilitary alliance take part in a demonstration and a symbolic funeral for Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad, on January 1, 2022. (Sabah Arar/AFP)

Yemen’s Houthi rebels seized a ship in the Red Sea, armed drones targeted Baghdad’s international airport, and hackers hit a major Israeli newspaper — a string of assaults that showed the reach of Iran-allied militias on the anniversary of America’s killing of a top Iranian general.

All three coincided with a massive memorial in Tehran for Qassem Soleimani, the general killed by a US drone strike in 2020 in Iraq. Iran’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi demanded the world prosecute former US president Donald Trump and sentence him to death for ordering the strike.

“Don’t doubt, and I tell this to all American leaders, that the hand of revenge will come out of ummah’s sleeve,” Raisi says, referring to the worldwide community of Muslims.

The taking of the Emirati ship Rwabee marks the latest assault in the Red Sea, a crucial route for international trade and energy shipments. The Iranian-backed Houthis acknowledged the seizure off the coast of Hodeida, a long-contested prize of the grinding war in Yemen between the rebels and a Saudi-led coalition that includes the United Arab Emirates.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the hacking of the Jerusalem Post’s website. The hackers replaced the Post’s homepage with an image depicting a missile coming from a fist bearing a ring long associated with Soleimani.

The image also depicted an exploding target used during a recent Iranian military drill that was designed to look like the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center near the Israeli city of Dimona. The facility is home to decades-old underground laboratories that reprocess spent rods from a nuclear reactor to obtain weapons-grade plutonium for Israel’s nuclear bomb program.

Under its policy of nuclear ambiguity, Israel neither confirms nor denies having atomic weapons.

In Iraq, troops shot down two so-called “suicide drones” at that same airport, American and Iraqi officials said. No group immediately claimed the attack, though one of the drones’ wings had the words “Soleimani’s revenge” painted on it in Arabic. Militias backed by Iran have been suspected in similar assaults. No injuries or damage were reported.

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