3 dead in Abu Dhabi drone attack claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels

·2 min read

DUBAI — A drone attack claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeting a key oil facility in Abu Dhabi killed three people on Monday and sparked a fire at Abu Dhabi’s international airport.

Emirati police identified the dead as two Indian nationals and one Pakistani. Six people were also wounded at an industrial area where Abu Dhabi’s state-owned energy company runs a pipeline network and an oil tanker storage facility.

Senior Emirati diplomat Anwar Gargash blamed the Houthis for the attack, saying on Twitter that Emirati authorities were handling the rebel group’s “vicious attack on some civilian facilities” in the United Arab Emirates’ capital with “transparency and responsibility.”

“The tampering of the region’s security by terrorist militias is too weak to affect the stability and safety in which we live,” he said.

Three transport tankers caught fire at the oil facility, while another fire was sparked at an extension of Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Police said preliminary findings indicate there were small flying objects, possibly belonging to drones, that fell in the two areas and may have caused the explosion and fire. They said there was no significant damage from the incidents, without offering further details.

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed they were behind an attack targeting “sensitive Emirati facilities.” In a press conference late Monday, military spokesman Yehia Sarea said, without offering evidence, that the Houthis targeted the airports of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, as well as an oil refinery and other sites in the UAE with ballistic missiles and explosive-laden drones.

Although the UAE has largely withdrawn its own forces from Yemen, it is still actively engaged in the conflict and supports Yemeni militias fighting the Houthis.

The incident comes as the Houthis face pressure and are suffering heavy losses. Yemeni government forces, allied and backed by the UAE, have pushed back the rebels in key provinces. Aided by the Emirati-backed Giants Brigades, the government forces took back the province of Shabwa earlier this month in a blow to Houthi efforts to complete their control of the entire northern half of Yemen.

Condemnations of the attack on the UAE poured in from across the world.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the United States would work with the UAE and international partners to hold the Houthis accountable, saying “we stand beside our Emirati partners against all threats to their territory.” (AP)

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