Yemeni Houthi fighters allege that they hit a vessel operated by the United Arab Emirates military, part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting in support of Yemen’s government against the rebels, releasing video that they say marks the moment when the vessel was struck.
The coalition confirmed Shiite Houthi militiamen had attacked a vessel under its command near Yemen in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait when it was “on its usual route to and from (the southern port city of) Aden, but it reported no casualties.
The Saudi-led coalition also said the attack signifies how Houthi rebels in Yemen are becoming a threat to shipping in the strategic Bab al-Mandeb strait.
“This incident demonstrates Houthi tactics of terrorist attacks against civilian international navigation in the Bab al-Mandab,” the coalition said in a statement.
“Coalition air and naval forces targeted Huthi militia boats involved in the attack” near the Bab al-Mandab, it said, while “coalition forces rescued civilian passengers following the attack” on Friday night.
On Sunday, the rebels reported on their sabanews.net website that five people were killed and six wounded in a coalition air strike targeting fishing boats off Wahjah, south of Mokha.
The strait is a major shipping lane between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden leading into the Indian Ocean.
The UAE is a key member of the coalition that has been battling the Iran-backed Huthis and their allies since March last year in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognised government.
Since March 2015, the coalition has pushed the rebels out of much of Yemen’s south, but they still control nearly all of the country’s Red Sea coast as well as swathes of territory around the capital Sanaa.
Houthi rebels release video footage showing the moment when a missile strikes a UAE naval vessel participating in the Saudi-led coalition to beat back the Houthi opposition in Yemen.