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UAE military vessel 'damaged in Houthi missile attack'

Houthis claim it was a missile attack while UAE says it was an 'accident'

Date of publication: 1 October, 2016

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Emirati armed forces are investigating incident which it says was an "accident" while Houthis rebels it is fighting in Yemen claim it was a missile attack
An Emirati military vessel off the coast of war-torn Yemen was damaged in a missile attack on Saturday, it has been claimed.

Contradictory reports of how the vessel in the strategic Bab al-Mandab shipping lane was damaged have come from both sides of the Yemen conflict.

United Arab Emirates, part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels and training Yemeni troops in the Red Sea port of Aden, said it was an "accident".

Meanwhile the Houthis claim it was a missile attack.

"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.

The armed forces are investigating the cause of the incident, it added.

In a statement on Saturday the Houthis said their forces had destroyed a UAE military vessel which was advancing toward the port city of Al-Mokha, which rebels control.

"Armed forces destroyed with a missile a military vessel belonging to the forces of the UAE," a military official was quoted as saying by the Saba news agency, which has been run by the Houthis since they seized Sanaa last year.

The Saudi-coalition wants to reinstate exiled president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and retake control of the capital.

The rebels control nearly all of Yemen's Red Sea coast.

In 2013, more than 3.4 million barrels of oil per day passed through the 20 km (12 mile) wide Bab al-Mandab, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition could not be immediately reached for comment.

A senior Emirati commander was among dozens killed in a Tochka rocket strike in 2015 on an army camp near Bab al-Mandab, one of the bloodiest setbacks for Gulf forces in months of fighting.

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