Yemen’s Houthis claim suspected drone attack on UAE tankers

Supporters of the Houthi movement shout slogans as they attend a rally to mark the 4th anniversary of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen’s war, in Sanaa, Yemen March 26, 2019.

Khaled Abdullah | Reuters

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed an attack in Abu Dhabi that caused fires and resulted in three fuel tanker explosions near state oil firm ADNOC’s storage facilities.

The fires began Monday afternoon in the industrial area of Musaffah and at a construction site near Abu Dhabi International airport in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi police said in a statement on state news agency WAM. Authorities believe the attack was carried out by drones.

“Preliminary investigations suggest that the cause of the fires are small flying objects, possibly belonging to drones, that fell in the two areas. Teams from the competent authorities have been dispatched and the fire is currently being put out,” the police statement said.

There are “no significant damages resulting from the two accidents” and an investigation has been launched, the statement added.

A spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi movement, which since 2015 has been at war with a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE, said that its militants have launched a military operation in the Gulf sheikhdom and that it would reveal more details in the hours to come, according to Reuters.

The UAE largely withdrew from Yemen in 2019, roughly four years into a bloody war that has plunged the Middle East’s poorest country into mass starvation and fueled the proxy fighting between Saudi Arabia and its regional adversary Iran, which backs the Houthis with funding and weapons.

Abu Dhabi still carries significant influence among Yemeni forces it has armed and trained to combat the Houthis, who in 2014 forced out Yemen’s Saudi-backed government led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The Houthis have carried out hundreds of cross-border missile and drone attacks into Saudi Arabia in the years since Riyadh launched its aerial assault on Yemen, which has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis.

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