Ns News Online Desk: Iran-backed Houthi movement in Yemen pledge new military operation inside the United Arab Emirates after it had fired a number of ballistic missiles at Abu Dhabi escalating tensions in seven-year-long conflict The United Arab Emirates (UAE) said on Monday it had intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement as the UAE hosted Israel’s President Isaac Herzog in his first such visit.
The attack only fuels ongoing tensions in the wider Persian Gulf, which has seen a series of attacks as Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers unravels and Yemen’s yearlong war rages on. As negotiators in Vienna now attempt to revive the accord and Emirati-backed forces press on the Iran-backed Houthis, the rebels are launching their longest-range attacks yet – a major challenge for the Emirates, which advertises itself to international businesses as a safe corner of an otherwise-dangerous neighborhood.
The UAE’s state-run WAM news agency reported Monday’s interception, saying “the attack did not result in any losses, as the remnants of the ballistic missile fell outside the populated areas. “The Emirati defense ministry said the latest missile attack was intercepted at 12:20 a.m. local time (10:20 p.m. GMT) and that its debris fell on an uninhabited area. It did not say whether it was aimed at Abu Dhabi or Dubai, the region’s business and tourism hubs.
The country’s civilian air traffic control agency said there was no effect on air travel in the UAE, home to the long-haul carriers Emirates and Etihad.
Houthi military spokesperson Yehia Sarei gave a press conference later Monday, claiming that the rebels had targeted “sensitive sites” in Abu Dhabi and Dubai with both Zulfiqar ballistic missiles and drones, without offering evidence for his assertions. He repeated the group’s warnings that the headquarters of international companies will be targeted in further attacks.
“We renew our warning to citizens, residents and companies to stay away from vital headquarters and facilities that will be targets in the coming period,” Sarei said in a television address. “The Emirates will remain an adversary as long as the actions of the Israeli enemy continue in Abu Dhabi and Dubai,” he shouted from the podium.
Herzog, Israel’s largely ceremonial president, was in the UAE on Monday for the first official visit by an Israeli head of state to the Gulf Arab nation.
The attack came while Israel’s president was visiting Abu Dhabi where he discussed security and bilateral relations with the UAE’s de facto ruler Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Herzog stressed Israel’s support for the UAE’s “security requirements” and condemned the recent attacks.