Houthis fire missiles at UAE, Saudi Arabia, warn of further strikes

Two Houthi ballistic missiles were intercepted over Abu Dhabi, with a UAE F-16 destroying the launcher which fired the missiles.

DEBRIS DOTS a Saudi Aramco oil company distribution station that Yemeni Houthis say they attacked, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on November 24.  (photo credit: NAEL SHYOUKHI/REUTERS)
DEBRIS DOTS a Saudi Aramco oil company distribution station that Yemeni Houthis say they attacked, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on November 24.
(photo credit: NAEL SHYOUKHI/REUTERS)

The United Arab Emirates intercepted and destroyed two Houthi ballistic missiles targeting the Gulf country on Monday with no casualties, its defense ministry said, following a deadly attack a week earlier.

For more than six years, the Houthis have been battling a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE, repeatedly carrying out cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, launching an unprecedented assault on the UAE on Jan. 17.

"The remnants of the intercepted ballistic missiles fell in separate areas around Abu Dhabi," the ministry said in a statement, adding that it was taking the necessary protective measures against all attacks.

The Emirati Defense Ministry added on Monday morning that an F-16 had destroyed a ballistic missile launcher in the Al Jawf Governorate of northwestern Yemen after two ballistic missiles were fired from it towards Abu Dhabi overnight.

Monday's attack was the second on UAE soil since last week's strike that hit a fuel depot in the capital, Abu Dhabi, killing three people, and causing a fire near its international airport.

Armed Houthi followers participate in a funeral of Houthi fighters killed in fighting against government forces in Yemen's Marib, in Sanaa (credit: REUTERS/KHALED ABDULLAH)Armed Houthi followers participate in a funeral of Houthi fighters killed in fighting against government forces in Yemen's Marib, in Sanaa (credit: REUTERS/KHALED ABDULLAH)

On Monday morning, Houthi Military Spokesperson Yahya Saree stated that the movement carried out the "Second Hurricane of Yemen Operation" against "sensitive sites" in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Saree claimed that al-Dhafra Air Base and a number of other sensitive sites in Abu Dhabi were targeted by a "large number" of Zolfaghar ballistic missiles. The spokesperson additionally claimed that sites in Dubai were targeted with a large number of Samad-3 drones. The US Air Force's 380th Air Expeditionary Wing is present at al-Dhafra Air Base.

The Houthis additionally launched Samad-1 and Qasef drones, as well as ballistic missiles, towards a number of sites in Saudi Arabia. Saree claimed that military bases in the Sharurah area of Saudi Arabia were "destroyed" and that "the operation achieved its goals with high accuracy."

While damage was reported in an industrial area in Saudi Arabia, with two civilians lightly injured, no other damages were reported in Saudi Arabia or the UAE.

Saree warned that the Houthis are prepared to expand their operations further and match any escalation. The spokesperson repeated the movement's warning to foreign companies and investors to leave the UAE, saying it has become an "unsafe country" and would be constantly targeted as long as "it continues its aggression and siege of the Yemeni people."

The US Embassy and Consulate in the United Arab Emirates advised its citizens in the country to "maintain a high level of security awareness" in a statement on Monday, following reports of a possible missile attack and accompanying missile defense activity over Abu Dhabi earlier in the morning.

Such statements are rare, for the UAE is largely viewed as one of the safest places in the Middle East, but the US Embassy issued a similar security alert last week when Abu Dhabi was targeted by the Houthi militia.

The Dubai benchmark stock index was down 1% in early trade, while the Abu Dhabi stock index dropped 0.7%. The UAE is the region's commercial and tourism hub.

Late on Sunday, Saudi state media said a Houthi ballistic missile had fallen in the kingdom's south, injuring two foreigners and damaging workshops and vehicles in an industrial area.

The Saudi-led coalition has ramped up airstrikes on what it describes as Houthi targets in Yemen.

At least 60 people were killed when a strike hit a temporary detention center in the northern province of Sadaa on Friday, and about 20 were killed in the Houthi-held capital of Sanaa in an operation on Tuesday.