Middle East

UAE Intercepts Yemen Rebel Ballistic Missile: Defense Ministry

The UAE said Monday it intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels towards the Gulf country with no casualties reported, the third such incident this month.

The defense ministry said in a statement that United Arab Emirates “air defenses intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile launched by the Houthi terrorist group towards the country.”

It added that debris fell in an unpopulated area and there were no casualties.

The defense ministry also said it destroyed the Houthi missile launcher in Yemen, without specifying its location.

The Emirates affirms its “full readiness to deal with any threats” and will “take all necessary measures to protect the UAE from any attacks,” it added.

The incident on Monday marks the third attack on the Emirates this month, with three foreign workers killed in the first assault on January 17 and the second a week later that was intercepted.

It also coincides with the Israeli President Isaac Herzog‘s first official visit to the UAE after the two countries normalized relations in 2020.

However, a statement from his office on Monday said that he will “continue his visit as planned.”

The UAE authorities said that the incident had no impact on air traffic, with flight operations proceeding normally.

‘Defense Capabilities’

The Iran-backed Houthis have yet to comment on Monday’s attack but said they will release a statement “in the coming hours” about an operation in the UAE.

The Houthi attacks are in response to a series of rebel defeats on the ground in Yemen inflicted by a UAE-trained militia.

The UAE is part of a Saudi-led military coalition that supports Yemen’s government against the Iran-backed Houthis.

In 2019, the UAE withdrew its troops from Yemen but remains an influential player.

An Emirati official said Thursday that Houthi attacks would not become a “new normal” for the UAE, vowing a robust defense.

“This is not going to be the new normal for the UAE,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“We refuse to acquiesce to the threat of Houthi terror that targets our people and way of life,” the official added.

The rebels have warned of further attacks on the UAE, which hosts American troops and is one of the world’s biggest arms buyers.

“The UAE has world-class defense capabilities and is constantly seeking to update them,” said the official, adding that the Houthi rebels “must be” designated as a terrorist organization.

Yemen’s civil war began in 2014 when the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa, prompting Saudi-led forces to intervene to prop up the government the following year.

The conflict has killed hundreds of thousands of people directly or indirectly and left millions on the brink of famine, according to the UN which calls it the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe.

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