Ballistic missiles intercepted over Abu Dhabi; U.S. State Department issues alert

Ballistic missiles intercepted over Abu Dhabi; U.S. State Department issues alert

An Emirati woman paddles a canoe past skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.
Christopher Pike | Bloomberg | Getty Images

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates intercepted two incoming ballistic missiles over its capital Abu Dhabi early Monday morning, state media agency WAM reported.

“The Ministry of Defence announced on Monday that its air defence forces had intercepted and destroyed two ballistic missiles targeting the UAE, which were fired by the Houthi terrorist militia,” the agency said.

The ministry confirmed that there were no casualties from the attack, and that “fragments of the ballistic missiles fell in different areas” around Abu Dhabi.

The U.S. State Department issued a security alert shortly after the attempted attack, warning Americans in the area to take precautionary measures.

“There have been reports of a possible missile attack and accompanying missile defense activity over Abu Dhabi early this morning. The Embassy reminds all U.S. citizens in the United Arab Emirates to maintain a high level of security awareness,” the alert read.

The targeted missile launch comes just one week after a deadly Houthi-claimed attack on Abu Dhabi that used what UAE officials say were drones and missiles. The strikes hit a fuel storage facility of state oil firm ADNOC and a construction site near Abu Dhabi International airport, killing three people.

“The Houthi militia in Yemen has claimed responsibility for the January 17 attack on Abu Dhabi and stated an intent to attack neighboring countries, including the UAE, using missiles and unmanned aerial systems (drones),” the State Department alert said.

The Houthis, a Yemeni rebel movement backed by Iran, have since 2015 been at war with a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE. The bloody and drawn-out conflict, which has pushed tens of thousands of Yemenis into famine, was set off with the Saudi-led bombing offensive that started in March of 2015 after Houthi militants took over Yemen’s government and pushed out a leadership that was backed by the Saudis.

While Abu Dhabi largely reduced its country’s ground forces from Yemen in 2019, it still supports proxy forces there, some of which have stripped Houthis of key territorial gains after months of heavy fighting. Analysts say the attacks on the UAE are retaliation for that.

Drone use — even commercial — has been banned across the UAE, and the Ministry of Defense said Monday it has “full readiness to deal with any threats,” and that it will “take all necessary measures to protect the UAE from any attacks.”

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