US and UAE officials said the US military intervened on Monday to help the United Arab Emirates thwart a rebel missile attack in Yemen on an air base where there is a missile attack. About 2,000 American personnel are stationed.
The attack marked an escalation of tensions as it was the second in a week against the United Arab Emirates, part of a Saudi-led coalition that has been at war with Iran-backed Houthi rebels support in Yemen for many years. Although the Houthis regularly target Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen, attacks on the Emirates have been rare until recently, as have US interventions such as Monday, and the country is seen as a safe haven in a volatile region.
Rebels say they have targeted Al Dhafra Air Base in the capital Abu Dhabi, home to the US Air Force’s 380th Expeditionary Force and where about 2,000 US military and civilian personnel are stationed. . The US deploys a Patriot missile defense system at the base.
“US forces at Al Dhafra Air Base, near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), conducted two missile threats with multiple coincident Patriot interceptor missiles. with the efforts of the armed forces of the UAE,” Captain Bill Urban, chief spokesman, told US Central Command. It added: “Combined efforts successfully prevented both missiles from impacting the base. US and Emirati officials said there were no casualties.
The UAE Defense Ministry said two missiles were fired by the Houthis.
Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Ventura, a spokesman for the US Air Force in the Middle East, said US forces at the base were always on high alert and spent about an hour in security bunkers after the warning. rockets rang out.
“US forces in Al Dhafra stand with the UAE and our coalition partners across the region,” said Brig. General Andrew Clark, commander of the 380th Expeditionary Force. “We have a strong partnership with the Emirate and will continue to work together to support our common interests.”
UAE authorities said rocket debris fell around Abu Dhabi but caused no casualties. According to state news agency WAM, the Emirate’s Defense Ministry affirmed it was “ready to deal with any threat” and promised to take all necessary measures to protect the state from attacks, according to the state news agency WAM.
The missile firing occurred a week after the Houthis claimed responsibility for another attack on Emirates targeting the airport in Abu Dhabi and a fuel depot. The attack on the fuel depot killed three people.
The Saudi-led coalition retaliated with air strikes on northern Yemen, killing multiple people at a detention center and knocking down the internet across the impoverished country. The Houthis have threatened to avenge those attacks and attack the United Arab Emirates again.
In a video statement, the Houthi military spokesman, Yahya Sarea, said the Houthis carried out the attack in response to the escalation of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and that it also included raids. drone and missile attacks targeting locations in Dubai, another City of the United Arab Emirates.
Mr Sarea warned foreign companies and investors at Emirates to leave “as the country has become an unsafe country that will be targeted regularly as long as it continues to be aggressive and encircle people”. Yemeni people.”
The escalation in hostilities is fresh evidence that the conflict in Yemen a year after President Biden took office declared war – and one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters – to an end. end.
Understanding the war in Yemen
A divided country. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia fought in Yemen against the Houthis, a Shiite Muslim rebel group that dominated the northern parts of the country, for many years. Here’s what to know about the conflict:
After months of capturing territory from the Houthis, who control northern Yemen, forces backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have managed to regain some territory and movement. force of war. Those insults have shaken international efforts to push the two sides toward peace.
Although the attack was successfully thwarted, it threatened to shake the UAE’s image as a solid outpost in the tumultuous Middle East.
“We have to be honest that this is something we are not used to,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political scientist in Dubai. “The UAE has maintained its reputation as a safe haven for investors, visitors and tourists,” he added, predicting that the attacks would not do lasting damage to that image.
“Maybe today, there is this attack,” he said. But the rich UAE “has the best defenses money can buy.”
Mona El-Naggar reports from Cairo and Eric Schmitt from Washington, DC Ben Hubbard Reporting contributions from Beirut, Lebanon.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/24/world/middleeast/us-air-force-uae-attack.html US helps stop Yemeni rebel attack on US airbase in UAE