A statement made by Houthi spokesperson Yahya Sare’e claimed credit for the Iranian proxy group’s attacks on several sites in the United Arab Emirates on Monday which resulted in the killing and wounding of civilians.
“In retaliation to the escalation of the US-Saudi-Emirati aggression, the armed forces carried out a special and successful military operation which targeted the airports of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the oil refinery in Mussafah in Abu Dhabi, and a number of important and sensitive Emirati sites and facilities,” Sare’e tweeted.
Sare’e said the attacks consisted of ballistic missiles and drones. He also warned the Houthis would expand its attacks if the UAE continued its “aggressive escalation” against Yemen.
“The successful operation was carried out with five ballistic and winged missiles and a large number of drones. The armed forces warn foreign companies, citizens, and residents of the UAE enemy state that they will not hesitate to expand the bank of targets to include more important sites and facilities during the coming period. UAE will be an unsafe state as long as its aggressive escalation against Yemen continues,” Sare’e said.
Sare’e later tweeted Zulfiqar and Quds-2 missiles were used in the attacks, including Samad-3 drones.
A statement made by the Saudi-led coalition said three bomb-laden drones were used in the attacks against Abu Dhabi International Airport and two economic facilities. That information contradicted the claim made by Sare’e about the number of sites attacked as well as the number of drones and missiles used by the Houthis in the strikes.
The coalition statement also said the coalition intercepted eight bomb-laden drones that were launched towards Saudi Arabia, but did not specify if it occurred during the UAE attacks.
Although it is too early to verify exactly how many drones and missiles were used, the attacks bore similarities to previous high-profile strikes claimed by the Houthis in the region.
In 2019, the Abaqiq attack in Saudi Arabia was claimed by the Houthis as diplomatic cover for Iran. It is unclear if the same situation occurred in Monday’s attack or if the Houthis were truly responsible.
Monday was not the first time the Houthis have claimed an attack inside the UAE.
In 2018, the Houthis claimed an attack using a Samad-3 drone against Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The previous year, the Houthis claimed responsibility for attacking the Barakah nuclear reactor in the Gharbiya region of Abu Dhabi.
Both attacks were denied by the UAE.
Two days before Monday’s attacks, a cartoonist for a Houthi linked newspaper, al-Thawra, published a caricature depicting the targeting of Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. The publication was taken down from the author’s Facebook page shortly after the attacks.
Despite the previously mentioned strikes, the UAE has largely avoided attacks by the Houthis over its role in the Saudi-led conflict in Yemen. However, Monday’s event can be viewed as a warning by the Houthis and it’s main backer, Iran, that the UAE’s vital industrial facilities and sensitive sites are vulnerable to repeated attacks, similar to what Saudi Arabia has experienced after its intervention in the Yemen conflict almost seven years ago.
The U.S., Saudi Arabia and other UAE allies have published statements condemning the Houthis for the attacks in Abu Dhabi.
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