Yemen’s Houthi rebel group will only consider releasing the seized car carrier Galaxy Leader when Israel halts its attack on Hamas.

Supreme political council member Mohammed Ali al-Houthi said in English on his social media channel that freeing the 5,100-ceu ship (built 2002) and its crew will be discussed when “America and Israel stop killing Palestinians in Gaza and bring in water, medicine and food”.

Al-Houthi said the seizure was justified under the principle of reciprocity due to Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Satellite imagery has confirmed that the Ray Car Carriers vessel, ultimately owned by Israel’s Rami Ungar, has been transferred to the Hodeidah anchorage, security company Ambrey said.

The UK has condemned the seizure, while the US is considering designating the Houthis as terrorists.

The Iranian-backed group has threatened to seize more Israeli-linked ships.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the US has “begun a review of potential terrorist designations” for the Houthi movement.

“And we’ll be considering other options together with our allies and partners as well,” he said, according to newswire AFP.

TradeWinds reported on Tuesday that United Against Nuclear Iran, an advocacy group, called on US President Joe Biden to order an operation to retake the Galaxy Leader.

UANI chief executive Mark Wallace and chief of staff Claire Jungman also urged the White House to put Ansar Allah, as the Houthi movement is officially known, on the Foreign Terrorist Organization and Specially Designated Global Terrorist lists.

Shipowners are being urged to check whether their ships have previous links to Israeli companies after Houthi rebels seized the Galaxy Leader.