The United Arab Emirates has intercepted two ballistic missiles targeting Abu Dhabi, the country’s defence ministry has said.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the offensive, saying they targeted al-Dhafra Air Base and other areas in the Emirati capital – along with sites in the Dubai region and the Saudi areas of Jizan and Asir.
Houthi military spokesman Yehia Sarei warned that the UAE would continue to be a target “as long as attacks on the Yemeni people continue”.
This is the rebels’ second assault on Abu Dhabi in a week following unprecedented drone strikes that killed three people last Monday.
The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition that has been at war with the Iran-backed Houthis for more than six years and was believed to be responsible for airstrikes that killed more than 80 people last week.
The Emirati defence ministry said the missiles were destroyed and there were no casualties.
Videos on social media appeared to show the sky light up before sunrise on Monday, with interceptor missiles moving through clouds to target the incoming fire.
Two explosions were later heard through the city and the missile fragments fell harmlessly to the ground, the state-run WAM news agency said.
The Emirati defence ministry tweeted out a black-and-white video that it said showed an F-16 striking the ballistic missile launcher used in the attack.
The site was identified as being near al-Jawaf, a Yemeni province around 1,400km southwest of Abu Dhabi.
On Sunday night, Saudi Arabia’s state media said the country had intercepted a missile and the fragments fell and injured two foreign nationals, causing damage in an industrial area near a southern region.
The Emirati defence ministry said it is “ready to deal with any threats” and “takes all necessary measures to protect the state from all attacks”.
At Al-Dhafra, which hosts both American and British forces, US personnel took shelter in bunkers during the attack, the US Air Force’s Mideast command said.
Traffic was disrupted into Abu Dhabi International Airport for about an hour after the attack.
The US embassy in Abu Dhabi later issued a security alert to Americans living in the UAE, telling citizens to “maintain a high level of security awareness”.
Instructions were provided on how to cope with missile attacks, which is previously unheard of given the UAE’s popularity as a safe tourist destination.
In a televised address, Houthi military spokesman Yehia Sarei said: “We warn foreign companies and investors to leave the Emirates.
“This has become an unsafe country.”
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