PARIS, France – The United Arab Emirates intercepted and destroyed two Houthi ballistic missiles targeting the Gulf country on Monday with no causalities, its defence ministry said, following a deadly attack a week earlier.
Fore more than six years, Yemen’s Houthis have been battling a Saudi – led coalition that includes the UAE, repeatedly carrying out cross – border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, and launching an unprecedented assault on the UAE on Jan.17.
The coalition has in the past week conducted deadly air strikes in Yemen it says are aimed at crippling the capabilities of the Iran – aligned movement in a conflict that is largely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The Houthi military spokesman on Monday said the group fired Zulfiqar ballistic missiles at al – Dhafra airbase in Abu Dhabi, which is used by the United States, alongside other ‘sensitive targets’. The group launched drones at Dubai, he added.
The UAE defence ministry said remnants of the intercepted missiles fell in separate areas around Abu Dhabi and that it was taking necessary protective measures against attacks.
It later posted a video on Twitter of what it described as an F-16 warplane destroying a Houthi missile launcher in Yemen’s al – Jawf at 1:10 a.m. GMT which the group had used in the operation.
UAE newspaper The National cited Abu Dhabi residents reporting flashes in the sky around 12:30 a.m.GMT.
Monday’s attack was the second on UAE soil since last week’s strike that hit a fuel depot in Abu Dhabi, killing three people, and causing a fire near its international airport.
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.
The Houthi military spokesman said Monday’s operation also targeted ‘sensitive’ sites in southern Saudi Arabia.
Saudi state media earlier said the coalition intercepted a missile, with remnants causing damage in a southern industrial area. State media ran images claiming to show winged remains of the projectiles and of the twisted metal of cars and buildings.
On Sunday night, state media said a ballistic missile fell near another region in the south, injuring two foreigners and causing damage in an industrial area.
The United Nations, which along with the United States has struggled to engineer a ceasefire for Yemen, has voiced concern over escalations and called for maximum restraint by both sides.
Coalition air strikes on Yemen killed at least 60 people in Saada province on Friday, and about 20 people in the Houthi – led capital Sanaa on Tuesday.
The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 months after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from Sanaa. The group says it is fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.