Emirati crew 'wounded' in last week's Houthi sea attack

Emirati crew 'wounded' in last week's Houthi sea attack
The UAE has said there were injuries among civilian crewmen on board a vessel which was hit by Yemeni rebels in the strategic Bab al-Mandab waterway last week.
2 min read
05 October, 2016
Emirati foreign ministry confirmed 'civilian crewmen' were harmed in the Houthi attack [Getty]

Emirati crewman on board a vessel destroyed by Houthi rebels in Yemen last week were wounded by the attack, Abu Dhabi said on Wednesday.

The civilian crewmen were receiving treatment in the UAE, the foreign ministry said, despite previously suggesting there were no casualties in the strategic Bab al-Mandab waterway last week.

It confirmed the ship is "civilian" and "does not have any military capability", although the vessel has previously been leased by the US Navy and operated with a mixed military-civilian crew.

The ministry condemned the "heinous attack" which it said had "serious repercussions for the freedom of navigation" in the waters off Yemen.

The UN Security Council too strongly condemned the attack in a statement on Tuesday.

"The members of the Security Council take threats to shipping around Bab al-Mandab, a strategically important shipping passage, extremely seriously," the statement said.

"The members of the Security Council called for such attacks to cease immediately and urged necessary steps to be taken to de-escalate the situation."

In a statement on Saturday, the Houthis said their forces had destroyed a UAE military vessel which was advancing toward the port city of the rebel-held al-Mokha, despite earlier Abu Dhabi reports suggesting it was "an accident".

"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 Rabbo 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 20km (12 mile) wide Bab al-Mandab, according to the US Energy Information Administration.