For the third time in two weeks, the United Arab Emirates claim to have been hit by a missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. “Air defenses intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired at our country by Houthi terrorists”said Monday, January 31, the Emirati Defense Ministry in a press release.
Debris from the rocket fell in an unpopulated area and no casualties were reported, Emirati authorities said, adding the attack had no impact on air travel. The ministry adds that it destroyed the Houthi rocket launcher in Yemen without giving its location.
The Houthis have not commented, but said they would issue a statement “in the next hours” at an operation in the Emirates who say they are “completely ready to face any threat” and take “all necessary measures to protect the United Arab Emirates from any attack”.
On January 17, a drone and missile attack in Abu Dhabi killed three people, and on January 24, two ballistic missile launches were intercepted by US forces stationed in the Emirates capital.
A devastating conflict in Yemen
The attack coincides with Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s first official visit to Abu Dhabi since relations between the two countries were normalized in 2020. In a statement, the Office of the Israeli President said so “would continue his visit as planned”.
The Emirates are part of a Saudi-led military coalition that has backed the Yemeni government against the Iran-backed Houthis since 2015. The Emirates withdrew their troops from Yemen in 2019 but remain an influential player in the conflict. Houthi rebels have threatened more attacks on the United Arab Emirates, which is home to US troops and one of the biggest arms buyers in the world.
The surge in Houthi attacks on the Emirates, a prosperous Gulf country that maintains its reputation as a haven of peace in the Middle East, is turning a new page in the war in Yemen that began in 2014. In more than seven years of war, which all parties to the conflict are accused of “war crimes” by United Nations (UN) experts. Entangled for several “Bone”recognized the coalition “Mistake” however, accuses the rebels of using civilians as human shields.
The UN has been trying in vain for several years to end this devastating conflict that has claimed the lives of 377,000 people and brought a population of 30 million to the brink of starvation in Arab Yemen, the poorest country in the world. Iran denies arms sales to the Houthis, accused by Saudis and Americans.