The ship was off the coast of al-Hudaydah, a key port that the Saudi-led coalition has been eyeing as a key target, Sputnik News reported Tuesday.
"The Saudi coalition has not advanced at all in al-Hudaydah," Dayfallah al-Shami, a member of the Houthi political bureau, told a Lebanese TV broadcaster.
UAE Naval Vessel off the coast of Hodeidah in the Red Sea is on Fire after being attacked by Houthi rebels. https://t.co/rj40pZMZKH— Strategic Sentinel (@StratSentinel) June 13, 2018
US officials confirmed the attack and that the ship was on fire, while adding that the vessel indeed was owned by the UAE, CNN reported.
Emergency crews struggled to save sailors on the ship as it was sinking, and Strategic Sentinel reports that "several fatalities" resulted from the clash between the UAE ship and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
Several informed sources report the vessel sustained major damage and has since sank. Several fatalities reported.— Strategic Sentinel (@StratSentinel) June 13, 2018
Humanitarian aid workers were forced to evacuate al-Hudaydah earlier this week due to the imminent Saudi and UAE-led amphibious assault operation against the key naval port. "People are already literally dying of starvation. The port is the lifeline to much-needed supplies of food and other life-saving resources and any attack would jeopardize the ability of this country to feed itself. We should make no mistake, if the port is out of action, Yemeni citizens will die," according to a statement released this week from the Islamic Relief's deputy country manager based in the port city.
While the armed conflict in Yemen is frequently portrayed as being a proxy war for Saudi Arabia and allied Gulf nations against Iran, in May US media reported that a team of about a dozen US Army Green Berets had arrived along the Saudi-Yemen border to support Saudi efforts to destroy missile caches.
"US support of the Saudi and UAE coalition in Yemen has resulted in a massive catastrophe and what look like war crimes," US Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) said in a tweet Wednesday. "The new brazen attack on the port city of al-Hudaydah will kill even more civilians," he said, adding "the US must stop its support now."