UAE intercept Yemen missile as Israeli President visits – KIRO 7 News Seattle

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – (AP) – The United Arab Emirates early Monday intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels when the Israeli president was visiting the country, authorities said, the third such attack in recent weeks.

The attack during President Isaac Herzog’s visit only fuels the ongoing tensions that are at stake the broader Persian Gulf, which has seen a series of attacks as the Iran nuclear deal collapsed with world powers and years of war raged in Yemen.

As negotiators in Vienna try to salvage the deal and Emirati-backed forces press on the Houthis, the rebels launch their most far-reaching attacks yet. These attacks pose a major challenge for the Emirates, which has long competed with international companies as a safe haven in an otherwise dangerous neighborhood.

The UAE’s state-run WAM news agency reported on the interception, saying that “the attack resulted in no casualties as the remnants of the ballistic missile fell outside of populated areas”.

It was initially unclear where the remains of the rocket fell. The country’s civilian air traffic control authority said there was no immediate impact on air travel in the UAE, home to long-haul airlines Emirates and Etihad.

Nice, The country’s top prosecutor has threatened that anyone filming or posting such an incident will be prosecuted in the UAE, an autocratic federation of seven sheikhdoms in the Arabian Peninsula. This makes reporting such incidents even more complicated for journalists.

In the absence of these videos, the Emirates Ministry of Defense released black-and-white footage showing the destruction of a ballistic missile launcher in Yemen’s al-Jawf province about 30 minutes after the attack. Another attack last week launched a similar attack on al-Jawf in the minutes after, leading analysts to suspect the Emiratis may have Western intelligence backing their attacks.

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

Houthi military spokesman Yehia Sarei wrote on Twitter that in the coming hours the rebels would announce an attack that would reach “the depths of the United Arab Emirates”. He did not elaborate that airstrikes on Sanaa, Yemen’s rebel-held capital, had begun.

Herzog, Israel’s ceremonial president in its parliamentary democracy, is on a state visit to the country. The head of ceremonies met with the powerful Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Sunday.

“I would like to emphasize that we fully support your security requirements and condemn any attack on your sovereignty in any form or language,” Herzog told Sheikh Mohammed, according to his office.

Herzog’s office told The Associated Press early Monday that the trip “is expected to proceed as planned” when asked about the missile interception. It was not elaborated on. Herzog was scheduled to attend the Expo 2020 World’s Fair in Dubai on Monday, which the Houthis had earlier threatened to target.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned the Houthi attack. “As the Israeli President visits the United Arab Emirates to build bridges and promote stability across the region, the Houthis continue to launch attacks that threaten civilians,” Price wrote on Twitter.

In the hours following the Houthi attack early Monday, Syrian state media reported that an Israeli attack had taken place near Damascus. The Israeli military did not immediately recognize it.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett paid his first official visit to the Gulf Arab sheikdom in December and discussed strengthening ties on multiple fronts with Sheikh Mohammed. The visits come after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recognized Israel and established diplomatic ties in 2020. Palestinian leaders have condemned the normalization agreement as a betrayal of their cause of statehood.

Last week, In a similar attack, both Emirati and US forces fired interceptor missiles to put down a Houthi attack when the missiles came near Abu Dhabi’s Al-Dhafra Air Base, home to some 2,000 American troops. The US military did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The week before saw A Houthi drone and missile attack hits an Abu Dhabi National Oil Co fuel depotThree people were killed and six others injured. Another attack targeted Abu Dhabi International Airport, although satellite photos analyzed by AP showed no damage. This attack came while South Korean President Moon Jae-in was visiting the Emirates.

The attacks have helped push benchmark Brent crude prices above $90 a barrel, putting further pressure on a global economy struggling with inflation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the UAE has largely withdrawn its own forces from Yemen, it remains actively involved in the conflict. It supports militias fighting the Iran-backed Houthis who occupied the Yemeni capital Sanaa in September 2014. A Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE entered the conflict in March 2015.

Iran has denied arming the Houthis, despite UN reports, independent analysts and Western nations pointing to evidence linking Tehran to the weapons. However, experts debate how much direct control Tehran exercises over the Houthis.

The war in Yemen has spiraled into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with international criticism of Saudi-led airstrikes that have killed hundreds of civilians and targeted the country’s infrastructure. Attacks seen after first round of Houthi missiles on Yemen in January The Saudi coalition hits a prison, killing about 90 peopleas well as knocking the country off the internet for days.

Meanwhile, the Houthis have used child soldiers and planted landmines indiscriminately across the country.

The missile attacks on the United Arab Emirates come as the Houthis face pressure and suffer heavy casualties on the battlefield. Backed by the Emirati-backed Giants Brigades, Yemeni government forces retook Shabwa province earlier this month, dealing a blow to Houthi efforts to complete their control of the entire northern half of Yemen.

While Emirati troops were killed in the course of the conflict, until this month the war had not directly affected daily life in the broader UAE, a country with a large foreign workforce.

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Associated Press writer Isabel Debre in Dubai contributed to this report.

Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

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