A Yemeni teenager who calls himself a "pirate" has become a social media sensation after posting video selfies that include one showing him gripping Yemen's flag on board a commercial container ship seized in the Red Sea by the Houthis.
Rashed Al-Haddad, 19, has achieved his success despite offering no evidence that he's been involved in the seizure of any vessel.
"The king of the pirates has arrived in the Red Sea. Free Palestine," he wrote on X above a video showing him on the container ship Galaxy Leader.
That post, in which he sported a thin beard and wore a khaki shirt and military-style belt, had 36,500 views and included a comment from @MaryMorrisey saying: "Got a love, a rockstar pirate".
Other posts on X or TikTok show him in a skiff alongside the vessel. One had more than 60,000 views.
The Galaxy Leader was seized on Nov. 19, after the Houthis, who control swathes of Yemen, started attacks on ships in the Red Sea which they said were to support Palestinians during the Gaza war. The vessel is now docked in Yemen.
Some comments on Haddad's posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, and other social media sites, have described him as "hot". One person wrote: "You're so good looking."
Speaking from Yemen, he told Reuters: "They compared me to a Hollywood actor. I did not care about these tweets at all. I tweeted and said we need to focus on the Palestinian cause."
He spoke while sitting on a living room couch, wearing a military belt typically used by soldiers to carry ammunition. At one point he had an AK-47 assault rifle beside him.
Israel began its military campaign in Gaza after a deadly rampage by Palestinian militants through Israel on Oct. 7. The offensive has caused fury, particularly in the Arab world, as the Palestinian death toll has mounted.
More than 24,000 Palestinians have been killed, after about 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas attack.
The Houthis say their attacks on shipping will continue until Israel halts its military offensive in Gaza.
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