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Naval mine kills Yemeni coastguards in Bab al-Mandeb

Published: Updated:

Two Yemeni coastguards were killed and 8 others were wounded when their vessel hit a naval mine on Friday near the international shipping passage of Bab al-Mandeb, in the south of the Red Sea, sources told Al Arabiya.

A Yemeni military source told Al Arabiya that the explosion of the naval mine occurred when the vessel was undertaking a surveillance tour in the region. The US had previously warned of the presence of Iranian-made naval mines planted by Houthi militants in the Red Sea near Bab al-Mandeb.

The sources confirmed that the wounded were dispatched to hospitals in Aden. The captain of the vessel Safwan al-Ozaybi was among those who were injured.

Earlier this week, the US office of naval intelligence had warned commercial ships from the danger of mine planted by Houthis and Saleh militias in Bab al-Mandeb strait near Mokha port. The US naval forces said it would deploy all possible efforts to protect the ships and vessels passing by the region.

The 25-km-wide Bab al-Mandeb strait is important for international navigation because it links Aden to the Red Sea, Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the crowded oil passageways in the Middle East and other regions.

Sixty commercial ships pass by Bab al-Mandeb on a daily basis carrying more than 3.3 million barrels of oil.

The rebels have launched many attacks on Bab al-Mandeb; last month, the militia attacked a Saudi frigate and a relief Emirati ship. In October 2016, they attacked US patrol vessels.