Houthis in Yemen
Houthis in Yemen Reuters

Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed asked US Secretary of State Tony Blinken in a phone call Monday to re-designate the Houthi rebels in Yemen as a terrorist organization, a senior Emirati official told Axios.

“During the call between Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed and Secretary Blinken, there was a discussion regarding the idea of re-designation of the Houthis based on their current actions," the senior official said.

"The latest attack on civilian targets in Abu Dhabi, and the hijacking of a UAE-flagged ship, fall squarely in that category,” added the Emirati official

The request followed Monday’s attack on three oil tankers near Abu Dhabi National Oil Company storage tanks in the Mussafah district near Abu Dhabi.

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels from Yemen claimed responsibility for the explosions, Reuters reported, which were apparently the result of drone attacks.

Blinken last year announced the removal of the Houthi rebels from the US list of foreign terrorist organizations, reversing a decision that was made by the Trump administration days before the end of his term.

It has long been believed that Iran is planning to use the Houthis to take over Yemen and seize the key strategic port of Aden, which controls the entrance to the Red Sea and ultimately to the Israeli resort city of Eilat.

Iran denies it is backing the Houthis and has also denied Saudi Arabian accusations that Tehran provided the Houthi rebels in Yemen with ballistic capabilities.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan condemned Monday’s Houthi attack.

“We will work with the UAE and international partners to hold them accountable. Our commitment to the security of the UAE is unwavering, and we stand beside our Emirati partners against all threats to their territory," he said in a statement.