UAE intercepts missile in Yemen during Israeli president’s visit


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels early Monday as Israel’s president was visiting the country, authorities said, the third such attack in recent weeks .

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels early Monday as Israel’s president was visiting the country, authorities said, the third such attack in recent weeks .

The attack during President Isaac Herzog’s visit only fuels ongoing tensions affecting the entire Persian Gulf, which has seen a series of attacks as Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers was collapsing and the war in Yemen had been raging for years.

As negotiators in Vienna now try to salvage the deal and Emirati-backed forces pressure the Houthis, the rebels are launching their longest-range attacks yet. These attacks represent a major challenge for the Emirates, which has long presented itself to international companies as a safe corner of an otherwise dangerous district.

The UAE’s official WAM news agency reported the interception, saying “the attack resulted in no casualties as the remnants of the ballistic missile fell outside populated areas.”

It was not immediately clear where the remnants of the missile fell. The country’s civilian air traffic control agency said there was no immediate effect on air travel to the United Arab Emirates, home to long-haul carriers Emirates and Etihad.

Already, the country’s chief prosecutor has threatened that those who film or post footage of such an incident will face criminal prosecution in the UAE, an autocratic federation of seven emirates on the Arabian Peninsula. This makes reporting on such incidents even more complicated for journalists.

In the absence of these videos, the Emirati Ministry of Defense released black and white images which it describes as showing the destruction of a ballistic missile launcher in the Yemeni province of al-Jawf about 30 minutes after the attack. Another attack last week saw a similar strike launched on al-Jawf within minutes, leading analysts to suggest the Emiratis may be receiving intelligence assistance from the West for its strikes.

Al-Jawf is about 1,350 kilometers (840 miles) southwest of Abu Dhabi.

Houthi military spokesman Yehia Sarei wrote on Twitter that the rebels would make an announcement about an attack in the coming hours that would reach “the depths of the United Arab Emirates”. satellite news channel.

Herzog, the ceremonial president of Israel in its parliamentary democracy, is in the country on a state visit. The ceremonial leader met with the powerful Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Sunday.

“I want to emphasize that we fully support your security demands and we condemn in all forms and in all languages ​​any attack on your sovereignty,” Herzog told Sheikh Mohammed, according to his office.

Herzog’s office told The Associated Press Monday morning that the trip was “to continue as planned” when asked about the missile interception. He did not specify. Herzog was due to travel to the Expo 2020 world exhibition in Dubai on Monday, which the Houthis had previously threatened to target.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made his first official visit to the Gulf Arab sheikh in December and discussed strengthening relations on several fronts with Sheikh Mohammed. The visits come after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recognized Israel and established diplomatic ties in 2020. Palestinian leaders have condemned the normalization deal as a betrayal of their cause for statehood.

Last week, a similar attack saw Emirati and US forces fire interceptor missiles to shoot down a Houthi attack as the missiles approached Al-Dhafra air base in Abu Dhabi, which hosts some 2,000 US troops. The US military did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The week before this saw Houthi drone and missile attack hits Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. fuel depot, killing three people and injuring six others. Another attack targeted Abu Dhabi International Airport, although damage was not seen in satellite photos analyzed by AP. This attack took place while South Korean President Moon Jae-in was visiting the Emirates.

The attacks helped propel benchmark Brent crude oil prices above $90 a barrel, further compressing a global economy struggling with inflation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the UAE has largely withdrawn its own forces from Yemen, it is still actively engaged in the conflict. He supports militias fighting the Houthis, who seized Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, in September 2014.

The missile attacks targeting the United Arab Emirates come as the Houthis come under pressure and suffer heavy losses on the battlefield. Yemeni government forces, allied and supported by the United Arab Emirates, pushed back the rebels in key provinces. Aided by the Emirati-backed Giants Brigades, government forces retook Shabwa province earlier this month, dealing a blow to Houthi efforts to complete their control of the entire northern half of Yemen.

Although Emirati troops have been killed in the conflict, until this month the war has not directly affected daily life in the United Arab Emirates, a country with a large foreign workforce.


Associated Press writer Isabel Debre in Dubai contributed to this report.

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Jon Gambrell, Associated Press


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