The United Arab Emirates says it intercepted two ballistic missiles targeting its capital, Abu Dhabi, on Monday morning after a lethal drone attack on the city a week ago.
In a statement, the UAE Ministry of Defense said that “its air defense intercepted and destroyed two ballistic missiles launched by the Houthi terrorist group.”
“The attack resulted in no casualties as the remnants of the intercepted and destroyed missiles fell in separate areas around the Emirate of Abu Dhabi,” the statement said.
The ministry said it “is ready to deal with any threat, and that it takes all necessary measures to protect the state from all forms of attack”.
At 4:15 am on Monday, witnesses in Abu Dhabi said they heard sounds of explosions and saw what they described as fireballs in the sky.
Several flights were delayed in arrival at Abu Dhabi airport, according to the airport’s website. Flight tracking website Flightradar24 showed that planes bound for Abu Dhabi were flying in circles around the airport.
The missiles come a week after rebels from the Iranian-based Houthi group admitted to being responsible for the attack near Abu Dhabi airport on January 17 that killed at least three people and set off multiple explosions in the capital. This was the first deadly attack in the UAE in years.
A spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi rebels warned at the time, the “UAE is an unsafe state as long as its aggressive escalation against Yemen continues.”
In response to the attack, the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen launched airstrikes on the Yemeni capital Saana, killing at least 12 people in the deadliest bombing in the city since 2019.
On January 21, at least 82 people were killed and 266 injured when an airstrike hit a detention center in Yemen, according to Houthi Health Minister Taha Al-Mitwakel. Another airstrike that day hit a telecommunications building in the strategic port city of Hodeidah, causing a nationwide internet blackout.
The Houthis blamed the Saudi coalition for the attacks.
The Saudi-led coalition denied deliberately targeting the detention center, with its spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Maliki calling the accusations “baseless and unfounded”, according to the Saudi state news agency SPA.
The coalition said it hit Hodeidah, taking down “one of the [dos Houthi] of maritime piracy and organized crime”.
The coalition also claimed to have attacked “military targets” in Sanaa.
The United Arab Emirates are major partners in the coalition that is fighting a six-year Saudi-led military campaign to crack down on Iran-based Houthi rebels who control much of Yemen.
The offensive began in 2015 to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government after it was overthrown by the Houthis.
The coalition has stepped up its actions in the war-torn nation with the advent of missile and drone strikes in Abu Dhabi last week.
In 2019, the UAE withdrew most of its fighters from Yemen, after internally deeming the war to be invincible. The campaign failed to decimate the rebels, but it came at a high humanitarian cost, with thousands of Yemenis dead and malnourished, as well as the spread of disease.
More recently, the UAE has returned to the conflict, supporting Yemeni groups in strategic locations such as the oil-rich provinces of Shabwa and Marib.
This content was originally created in English.
Reference: CNN Brasil