UAE intercepts another Houthi ballistic missile; no losses reported

AP , Monday 31 Jan 2022

The United Arab Emirates intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels early Monday, the authorities said, the third such attack in as many weeks.

Dhabi

The UAE's state-run WAM news agency reported Monday's interception, saying ``the attack did not result in any losses, as the remnants of the ballistic missile fell outside the populated areas.''

It wasn't immediately clear where the remnants fell. The country's civilian air traffic control agency said there was no effect on air travel in the UAE, home to the long-haul carriers Emirates and Etihad.

The Emirati Defense Ministry released black-and-white footage it described as showing the destruction of a ballistic missile launcher in Yemen's al-Jawf province some 30 minutes after the attack.

Al-Jawf is some 1,350 kilometers (840 miles) southwest of Abu Dhabi.

Houthi military spokesman Yehia Sarei gave a press conference later Monday, claiming that the rebels had targeted ``sensitive sites'' in Abu Dhabi and Dubai with both Zulfiqar ballistic missiles and drones, without offering evidence for his assertions.

He repeated the group's warnings that the headquarters of international companies will be targeted in further attacks.

``The Emirates will remain an adversary as long as the actions of the Israeli enemy continue in Abu Dhabi and Dubai,'' Sarei shouted from the podium.

Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, was visiting the UAE on Monday.

The day before, he held extensive talks with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the capital, where he condemned the recent attacks.

Herzog on Monday visited Dubai's Expo 2020 world's fair, which the Houthis had previously threatened to target. From the site's centerpiece dome, he delivered a carefully worded speech extolling Israel's innovations, its presence at the fair and growing economic cooperation with the UAE.

He arrived at the Israeli flag-raising ceremony surrounded by some dozen close protection officers in dark suits.

``Israelis and Emiratis are standing together, learning each other's cultures and languages,'' Herzog said, rattling off figures about the countries' cooperation: $1 billion in trade, the establishment of a $100 million research and development fund, 250,000 Israelis who so far have visited the UAE's coastal cities.

``I look forward to the great accomplishments that will undoubtedly emerge from the seeds planted right here, together,'' he added. ``This was a decision not only to normalize ties but to shape a new tomorrow.''

He urged more nations to recognize Israel as part of the so-called Abraham Accords before being swiftly shepherded away.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price condemned the Houthi attack. ``While Israel's president is visiting the UAE to build bridges and promote stability across the region, the Houthis continue to launch attacks that threaten civilians,'' Price wrote on Twitter.

Last week, a similar attack saw both Emirati and U.S. forces fire interceptor missiles bring down a Houthi missile near Al-Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi, which hosts some 2,000 American troops. The U.S. military did not respond to requests for comment on Monday's missile interception.

The week before, a Houthi drone-and-missile attack struck an Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. fuel depot, killing three people and wounding six as South Korean President Moon Jae-in visited the UAE.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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