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Suspected drone strike kills 3 in UAE, Huthis announce ‘military operation’

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A suspected drone strike killed three people in a fuel tank explosion in Abu Dhabi on Monday, authorities said, as Yemen's Houthi rebels announced a
Suspected drone strike kills 3 in UAE, Huthis announce ‘military operation’

A suspected drone strike killed three people in a fuel tank explosion in Abu Dhabi on Monday, authorities said, as Yemen‘s Houthi rebels announced a “military operation” in the United Arab Emirates.

Two Indians and a Pakistani were killed when three petrol tanks exploded near the storage facilities of oil giant ADNOC, while a fire also broke out in a construction area at Abu Dhabi airport.

Yemen‘s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have announced a “military operation” in the United Arab Emirates, a partner in Yemen‘s pro-government coalition, in what would be a major escalation in the seven-year war.

Police said “small flying objects” were found at both locations, suggesting the kind of deliberate attack that is almost unheard of in the wealthy United Arab Emirates, a known safe haven in the volatile Middle East.

“Preliminary investigations indicate the detection of small flying objects, possibly belonging to drones, which fell in the two areas and may have caused the explosion and fire,” police said in a statement, adding that the incidents were under investigation.

Although the UAE gave few details about the incidents or the suspected perpetrators, neighboring Saudi Arabia and Gulf ally Bahrain called them “terrorist” attacks.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree tweeted that the rebel armed forces would “announce a major military operation in the United Arab Emirates in the next few hours.”

And while there was no formal claim of responsibility, Abdul Ilah Hajar, adviser to the chairman of the Houthis’ Supreme Political Council in Sanaa, said it was a warning shot from the rebels.

“We send them a clear warning message by attacking places that are not of great strategic importance,” he told AFP.

“But it is a warning if the UAE continues its hostility towards Yemen, in the future they will not be able to withstand the attacks that are coming.”

– ‘Booby-trapped drones’: Drone strikes are a hallmark of Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, the UAE ally that leads the coalition fighting for Yemen‘s government in a tough war civil.

Rebels have previously threatened to target Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the glittering crown jewels of the United Arab Emirates that last year opened its first nuclear power plant.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry condemned “in the strongest terms the cowardly terrorist attack”, while Bahrain also criticized the “launch of a series of booby-trapped drones by the Houthi terrorist militia”.

The incident follows an uptick in fighting in Yemen and comes two weeks after rebels seized a United Arab Emirates-flagged ship, the Rwabee, and released images allegedly showing military equipment on board.

The United Arab Emirates said the Rwabee, whose 11 crew members are now hostages, was a “civilian cargo ship” and called the hijacking a “dangerous escalation” on the busy Red Sea shipping lane.

The rebels later rejected a UN Security Council demand for the ship’s immediate release, saying it “was not carrying… toys for children, but weapons for extremists.”

Yemen‘s conflict has been a catastrophe for millions of its citizens who have fled their homes, many on the brink of famine, in what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The United Arab Emirates joined the coalition against the Houthis before announcing a change of course in 2019.

The pro-government Giants Brigade, backed by the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates, recently dealt a heavy blow to the rebels by retaking three districts in the Shabwa governorate.

The clashes were part of an uptick in violence in the shattered country, where war is being waged on multiple fronts.

Source Credit: TheGuardian

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