DUBAI, Oct 5 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday Yemeni Houthi forces had attacked a UAE civilian vessel in a strategic Red Sea shipping lane off the coast of Yemen at the weekend and called the incident an act of terrorism.
The UAE foreign ministry, in a statement carried by state news agency WAM, said the civilian ship was targeted by Houthi militia near the Bab al-Mandab strait off Yemen’s southern coast on Saturday.
“The targeting of the civilian ship in an international channel has serious implications for freedom of navigation, and is an act of terror...,” it said, without elaborating.
In a statement on Saturday the Houthis said their forces had fired a missile that had destroyed a UAE military vessel that was advancing towards the Red Sea port of Al-Mokha.
The UAE military said on Saturday that one of its vessels was damaged in an incident, on which it gave no details, near the strait but there were no injuries to its crew.
Hundreds of Emirati soldiers in a Saudi-led coalition have been fighting Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthis who control the capital and training Yemeni troops in the port of Aden to help rebuild a state loyal to exiled president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
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 U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Reporting by Ali Abdelatti; writing by Hadeel Al Sayegh; editing by Mark Heinrich