June 21 (Reuters) - A merchant vessel reported an explosion in its vicinity 126 nautical miles east of Yemen's port city of Aden, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said late on Friday.

"The crew are reported safe and the vessel is proceeding to its next port of call," UKMTO said in an advisory note, without identifying the vessel.

The Yemeni militant Houthi group has been launching drone and missile strikes in the key waterway since November in what it says is solidarity with Palestinian militants in Gaza.

In over 70 attacks, the group has sunk two vessels, seized another and killed at least three seafarers.

(Reporting by Yomna Ehab and Enas Alashray; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)