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Saudi Arabia says Yemeni rebel boat rams Frigate in Red Sea

Two sailors are killed when Yemen SUICIDE BOATS smash into Saudi warship

  • Two crew members on the vessel died in explosion caused by three boat attack

  • It was targeted by the armed Houthi movement,

  • Three sailors on board the ship were also injured in the attack

  • The Houthi movement claims the ship was struck by a guided missile

Two crew members on a Saudi warship were killed after an attack by three 'suicide boats' which caused a large explosion.

The vessel was targeted off the western coast of Yemen by the armed Houthi movement.

Three sailors were also injured in the attack

But footage purportedly showing the attack shows the ship being targeted by the three boats.

It was at least the second attack by the Houthis on ships off the coast of Yemen in the last six months.

A United Arab Emirates vessel was attacked with a cruise missile by Houthi militants off Yemen's west coast in October.

The group is engaged in battles on the mainland with coalition troops and pro-government fighters, who are trying to advance northward to deprive the Houthis of Red Sea ports.

The Saudi-led coalition warned the attack on the ship 'would impact international navigation and the flow of humanitarian assistance to the port for Yemeni citizens'.

Separately, the Houthis said they launched a ballistic missile at a Saudi-led coalition military base on the Red Sea island of Zuqar between Yemen and Eritrea on Tuesday morning, according to the group's official news channel al-Masira.

There was no immediate coalition reaction to that claim and it was unclear if there were any casualties.

See the video here

The attacks follow weeks of combat on Yemen's western coast between the Iran-allied Houthis and the coalition backing Yemen's internationally recognized government.A statement on state news agency SPA from the Saudi-led coalition reported: 'A Saudi frigate on patrol west of Hodeidah port came under attack from three suicide boats belonging to the Houthi militias.'One of the boats smashed into the rear of the warship, causing an explosion and a fire that killed two crew members and wounded three others.The Houthi movement's al-Masira channel contradicted this account and quoted a military source saying the explosion was caused by a guided missile.

The official Saudi Press Agency said the gunboat was one of three that attacked the frigate which was patrolling off the Yemeni port of Hodeida, but gave few details.

The Yemeni rebels, also known as the Houthis, gave a different version, claiming that the frigate was hit by a rocket they fired, starting a fire on board the ship.

A video clip broadcast by the Houthis' al-Masirah television showed a warship being hit and a fire on board starting as a man not shown in the video shouted the rebels' trademark chant of "Allahu akbar (God is greatest), death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews and victory for Islam."

The authenticity of the video could not be independently confirmed.

The Saudi Press Agency report said a fire was quickly put out and the frigate continued its mission while warplanes and warships from a Saudi-led coalition pursued the Houthis' gunboats.

The coalition has since March 2015 been fighting the Houthi rebels and forces loyal to a former Yemeni president, waging an extensive air campaign aimed at restoring the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Yemen's civil war began the previous year, when the rebels captured Sanaa, Yemen's capital, and blitzed across much of the country.

They have since 2015 been dislodged from most of the south of Yemen, but they remain in control of much of the north.

Monday's attack on the Saudi warship was the second since October to target a coalition vessel.

The rebels said then that they had hit a vessel operated by the United Arab Emirates. The UAE military acknowledged only that a boat under its command was involved in an "incident" in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait at the southern end of the Red Sea and said there were no casualties.

A video posted on social media at the time, purporting to be footage of the incident, showed a vessel being targeted at night and later on fire.

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