Houthi UAV/Missile Attack on Abu Dhabi

Houthi rebels have used Iranian Qasef-1 drones to attack UAE and Saudi Arabian airports. (DoD)

In the morning of Monday 17 January, 2022, drones and missiles launched from Yemen struck three oil refueling vehicles in an oil refinery of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in Musaffah.

One Pakistani and two Indians were killed, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) official news agency WAM reported. Eight others were injured, including two airport employees and six people at another explosion site, according to the Abu Dhabi Police.

A Houthi military spokesman said the group had fired “a large number” of drones and five missiles in the attack on the UAE which was dubbed Operation Hurricane. The attack simultaneously set an extension of the Abu Dhabi International Airport on fire, with no recorded casualties.

The types of missiles and drones have not been identified but in the past, the Houthis have used Iranian designed weapons assembled in Yemen.

“In response to the threat and military necessity, airstrikes began on Sana’a,” Saudi Arabia’s state-run Al-Ekhbariya TV channel said. “The vicious attack on the UAE is a hostile act. The Houthi targeting of civilians in the kingdom and the UAE are war crimes whose perpetrators must be held accountable,” continued Al-Ekhbariya.

The spokesperson for Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, Brigadier General Yahya Saree claimed responsibility for the attack, warning that the “UAE is an unsafe state as long as its aggressive escalation against Yemen continues.”

Minutes after the Houthis claimed responsibility, Saudi led-coalition airstrikes were launched.

In 2019, the UAE pulled most of its troops from Saudi-led coalition forces in Yemen, after privately deeming the war unwinnable. The campaign failed to crush the rebels but exacted a huge humanitarian toll, with thousands of Yemenis dead and malnourishment and disease widespread. However, Al-Masirah TV of Yemen reported that Emirati fighter aircraft affiliated with the Saudi-led coalition bombed the Yemeni capital of Sanaa 12 times on 19 January. The heaviest airstrikes were on Sanaa International Airport and its surroundings as well as the Sanhan district of the Yemeni province.

by David Oliver