The UAE has pledged reprisals after a drone attack claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels triggered a fuel tank blast that killed three people in Abu Dhabi.
The United Arab Emirates is part of a Saudi-led military coalition that supports Yemen’s government against the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, who have repeatedly targeted Saudi Arabia with cross border attacks.
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But Monday’s attack is the first deadly assault on its own soil acknowledged by the UAE and claimed by the rebels, who said they had fired ballistic missiles and deployed armed drones.
Two Indians and a Pakistani working for oil giant ADNOC died as three petrol tanks exploded near a storage facility, while a fire also ignited in a construction area at Abu Dhabi airport in the heart of the UAE.
“Preliminary investigations indicate the detection of small flying objects, possibly belonging to drones, that fell in the two areas and may have caused the explosion and fire,” the police said in a statement carried by state news agency WAM, adding that they had opened an investigation.
Meanwhile, Yahya Saree, the military spokesman of the Houthis said the group had “carried out … a successful military operation” against “important and sensitive Emirati sites and installations” using both ballistic missiles and drones.
He also urged civilians and foreign firms to “stay away from vital installations” in the UAE for “their own security”.