By Becky Anderson, Sarah El Sirgany, Helen Regan and Mostafa Salem | CNN
The United Arab Emirates intercepted two ballistic missiles launched by Yemen’s Houthis at their capital Abu Dhabi early Monday, in what the Iran-backed group warned would be part of the attack. ongoing campaign against the capital of the Emirate.
At 4:15 a.m., Abu Dhabi’s skyline lit up with what witnesses described as “balls of fire in the sky.” Some residents of the capital woke up to the sound of explosions when anti-aircraft missiles intercepted the projectile.
The incident comes a week after a drone and missile attack by the Houthis near Abu Dhabi’s airport left three foreign workers dead and several others injured.
In a statement on Monday, the UAE’s defense ministry said, “its air defenses intercepted and destroyed two ballistic missiles fired by the Houthi terrorist group”.
“The strike did not cause any casualties as the remnants of the intercepted and destroyed ballistic missiles fell in separate areas around the Emirate of Abu Dhabi,” the statement added.
The ministry said it was “ready to respond to any threat and take all necessary measures to protect the state from any attack”.
Several flights were delayed upon arrival at Abu Dhabi airport, according to the airport’s website. Flight tracking website Flightradar24 shows planes arriving from Abu Dhabi flying within close proximity to the airport.
The US Embassy in Abu Dhabi also urged US citizens in the UAE to maintain a “high level of security awareness”, issuing a series of guidelines on how to respond to a missile attack.
Shortly after Monday’s incident in Abu Dhabi, the UAE Defense Ministry said an F-16 fighter jet destroyed a ballistic missile launcher used to target the UAE capital. It did not specify which country the plane belonged to.
Yemen’s Houthis claim they are targeting the UAE’s Dubai mall as well as Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra Airbase, which hosts the US Air Force’s 380th Expeditionary Wing.
Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree on Monday warned that the group would “expand their activities in the next phase”.
“We are calling on foreign companies and investors to leave the UAE,” Saree said in a video statement. “It has to be constantly targeted.”
Abu Dhabi has repeatedly been ranked as one of the safest cities in the world, with the January 17 strike described by Emirati officials as “unprecedented”.
For decades, the UAE has averted instability in the crisis-stricken region, attracting millions of expats and massive amounts of foreign investment. The country’s economy relies heavily on foreign workers.
Week-long violence escalates
Yemen’s Houthis have vowed to retaliate for a series of deadly airstrikes last week by a Saudi-led coalition – of which the UAE is a key partner – in northern Yemen that left scores dead. . Air strikes also brought down the internet across the country after hitting a telecommunications tower.
According to internet watchdog NetBlocks, the nationwide internet outage entered its fourth day in Yemen on Monday.
On Friday, at least 70 people were killed in an airstrike on a detention center in the Yemeni city of Saada, according to international aid groups.
The Saudi-led coalition denied it intentionally targeted the detention center, with spokesman Brig. According to Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA, General Turki Al-Maliki called the claims “baseless and baseless”.
The coalition said it attacked Hodeidah, knocking out “one of the [Houthis’] maritime piracy and organized crime. The coalition also said it had hit “military targets” in Sanaa. Last week’s attack began after last Monday’s attack in Abu Dhabi.
The United Nations Security Council on Friday unanimously condemned the January 17 strike in the UAE capital.
The UAE is a key coalition partner that has been fighting a six-year military campaign led by Saudi Arabia to destroy the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, which control much of Yemen.
The offensive began in 2015 to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which was ousted by the Houthis. The coalition has stepped up attacks on the war-torn country following a missile and drone attack by the Houthis in Abu Dhabi last week.
In 2019, the UAE withdrew most of its troops from Yemen, after privately deeming the war to be force majeure. The campaign failed to destroy the insurgents, but the toll was truly humanitarian, with thousands of Yemenis dead and malnourished and disease spreading.
More recently, the UAE has returned to the conflict, backing Yemeni groups in flashpoints like oil-rich provinces like Shabwa and Marib.
https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/01/24/uae-intercepts-2-ballistic-missiles-over-abu-dhabi/ UAE intercepts 2 ballistic missiles in Abu Dhabi