The Biden Administration has launched a review to designate the Houthi movement as a terrorist group after the hijacking of a Ray Car Carriers vessel.

The move came as an official with the Yemen-based militant group’s political wing warned that more ships would be targeted.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that, in light of the hijacking of the 5,100-ceu car carrier Galaxy Leader (built 2002), 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 earlier 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, which the Iranian-backed Houthis seized on Sunday over its links to Isreal.

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.

“Now is the time to correct the wrongheaded February 2021 decision to relieve the Houthis of their FTO and SDGT designations,” they said.

Ray Car Carriers is controlled by Israeli shipowner Abraham “Rami” Ungar, though the Galaxy Leader is operated by Japan’s NYK Group.

The hijacking increases the potential for an escalation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, with Houthi officials siding with the Palestinian militant group that controls the territory.

Highlighting the risk to shipping, an Ansar Allah political bureau official, Hezam al-Assad, told a podcast of pan-Arabian news site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the Galaxy Leader seizure is “just the beginning”.

According to an account of the episode by Iranian state-owned Press TV, al-Assad pointed to “upcoming naval operations” that will target Israeli naval and commercial ships.

“Our naval forces are on a high alert and are monitoring the sea,” he said. “Each Israeli vessel, whether military or commercial, will be targeted as long as the people of Gaza are being bombed.”