UAE warship damaged in 'incident' off coast of Yemen
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DOHA (Reuters) - A United Arab Emirates warship was damaged in a strategic Red Sea shipping lane off the coast of Yemen on Saturday but there were no injuries to its crew, the UAE military said.
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.
"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 injures 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 that was advancing toward the Red Sea port of Al-Mokha.
"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 Yemeni news agency, which has been run by the dominant Houthi movement since it seized Sanaa last year.
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.
A spokesperson 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.
(Reporting by Tom Finn; Editing by Alexander Smith)
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