Yemen’s rebels attack Abu Dhabi airport using a drone

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Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they attacked Abu Dhabi’s international airport in the United Arab Emirates with a drone.

According to the Houthi-run Al-Masirah television channel, the Sammad-3 drone launched three strikes on the airport on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear if there was any damage or casualties.

Abu Dhabi airport tweeted earlier in the day there had been an incident involving a supply vehicle that had not affected operations. It was unclear if it was related to the reported drone strike. 

An identified UAE official told Reuters news agency the attack did not occur. 

‘No paper tiger’

General Abdullah al-Jafri, a spokesman for the Houthis, said the drone attack showed the movement was capable of launching strikes against vital civilian infrastructure of the Saudi-Emirati-led military coalition battling the rebels in Yemen. 

“Our attack on Abu Dhabi airport shows our forces are no paper tiger like our enemies claim,” Jafri told Al-Masirah TV on the phone.

“They mocked us before, but let me make it clear that the next stage will be targeting the infrastructure of our enemies in Saudi and the UAE.”

The UAE official denied the airport attack. “Operations at the airport are business as usual,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying.

Despite the denial, people on social media noted many flights at the airport had been delayed.

The Houthi attack came a day after the rebels targeted two Saudi oil tankers in the Red Sea, prompting Riyadh to temporarily suspend the transport of oil supplies through the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

The Houthis control much of northern Yemen and have said Abu Dhabi, a member of the Western-backed coalition fighting against them since 2015, was a target for their missiles.

The UAE has an advanced anti-missile interception system – the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) – which is designed to destroy short and intermediate-range missiles.

Humanitarian disaster

In December last year, the Houthis said they fired a cruise missile towards a nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi.

The United Nations has called the war in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

At least 10,000 people have been killed and thousands of others wounded in the conflict in Yemen, one of the world’s most impoverished nations.

More than 20 million Yemenis need aid, millions are on the brink of famine, and hundreds of thousands have been infected with diseases, mostly cholera.

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