Rebels claim responsibility for attack on UAE warship transporting ‘medical aid’ to Yemen
“General Command of the Armed Forces said one of its leased vessels suffered an incident in the Bab al-Mandab strait this morning during a return trip from a mission in Aden. No injuries were caused,” UAE state news agency WAM said in a statement, adding that an investigation into the incident has been launched.
Meanwhile the Houthis, a Shia group that has forced Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia in 2015, claimed that its forces completely destroyed the ship in the 20 km (12 miles) wide Bab al-Mandab strait, once home to a shipping route that handled 3.4 million barrels of oil per day.
“Rockets targeted an Emirati warship as it approached the coast of Mokha” on the Red Sea, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels said in a statement on Yemeni sabanews.net website.
“It was completely destroyed,” the statement claimed.
Immediately after the attack the Saudis reported mustering an emergency rescue operation to save the crew of the UAE ship, that claimed to have been transporting “medical aid.”
“The coalition rescued civilians from a vessel targeted by Houthi militias ... that was transferring medical aid to the city of Aden and evacuating wounded civilians for treatment,” the coalition said in a statement on Saudi state news agency SPA.
Another report by Iran’s FARS News claimed that UAE’s sunken ship allegedly fired a round of rockets at residential areas in Ta'iz province before the Houthis took it down with the missile.
Video footage surfaced online allegedly showing the Houthis targeting the ship.
Social media users also claimed that Houthis used a guided missile to destroy former US Navy vessel HSV-2 Swift.
FARS, citing a Yemeni military source, said that more than 10 vessels have been targeted and sunk off Yemen’s coast in the last six months.
As the 18-month long fight against the Saudi-led coalition which involves UAE forces continues, the Houthis still control nearly all of the country’s Red Sea coast enabling them to launch attacks on passing vessels.
More than 6,700 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the coalition began its air campaign in March 2015 in the midst of a lengthy civil war.