The Iranian-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen claimed responsibility for a drone attack on the United Arab Emirates that killed three people and injured six others. Following the attack on the UAE, the Saudi-led coalition made claims that it was able to shoot down eight drones that had been launched in Saudi Arabia’s direction.
In the Musaffah industrial area of Abu Dhabi, three fuel tankers exploded not far from storage facilities of oil firm ADNOC. In addition, a fire started at a storage facility at the Abu Dhabi International Airport, suspending several flights.
Before the explosion, drones were spotted throughout the area. According to a statement released by police through a state news agency, “Initial investigations found parts of a small plane that could possibly be a drone at both sites that could have caused the explosion and the fire.”
Of the three people killed in the attack, two were Indian, and one was Pakistani. They were killed in the explosion of the tanker trucks. The other injured people have been listed with light to moderate injuries.
The attack was condemned by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. They called it a “cowardly, terrorist” attack. Meanwhile, the Tasnim News Agency in Iran described the attack as an “important operation,” according to Reuters. Both of the incidents are currently being investigated by police.
The Houthi movement’s military spokesperson said a military attack on the UAE had been launched. The statement said, “In response to the escalation of the US-Saudi-Emirati aggression, we carried out, with the help of God Almighty, a qualitative and successful military operation.”
The statement continued, “Operation Hurricane Yemen targeted Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports, the Musaffah oil refinery in Abu Dhabi, and a number of important and sensitive Emirati sites and facilities. The successful operation was carried out with five ballistic and winged missiles and a large number of drones. Operation Hurricane Yemen has successfully achieved its goals.”
There have only been a few attacks the Houthis have taken responsibility for against the UAE in the past. For the most part, the few attacks the Houthis have claimed have been denied by Emirati officials.
The attack comes amid tensions between the Houthi movement and a Saudi-led military coalition the UAE supports. The Yemeni forces were both armed and trained by the UAE prior to 2019, when the UAE scaled down its military presence in the region. Still, the UAE has great influence over Yemeni forces.
On Tuesday, the day after the attack, Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, the UAE Foreign Minister, asked Antony Blinken and the Biden administration to re-designate Yemen’s Houthi movement as a terrorist organization.
Along with the most recent attack on Monday, the Yemenite militant and Islamist political movement have regularly attempted to launch attacks on other countries in the region, especially Saudi Arabia. Attacks have also been launched by the Houthis on ships. This includes a recent Houthi attack on an Emirati vessel that was labeled as a direct “warning” to Israel.
The Houthis had been designated as a terrorist group by former President Trump. However, within a month of taking office, the Biden administration removed the designation and even claimed to consider sending aid to Yemen’s people who have been ravaged by civil war.
Jeffrey‘s a senior writer with ThinkCivics and a freelance journalist with The Jerusalem Post. He’s a published author, earned an associate’s degree in theology, and is pursuing a master’s degree in communications with a focus on journalism.