ABU DHABI (Dispatches) – Three people were killed in a suspected drone attack that set off a blast and a fire in Abu Dhabi on Monday, officials said, as Yemen’s army announced retaliatory operations in the United Arab Emirates.
Three petrol tanks exploded near the storage facility of oil giant ADNOC, while a fire ignited in a construction area at Abu Dhabi airport.
Police said “small flying objects” were found at both places, suggesting the sort of deliberate attack.
“Preliminary investigations indicate the detection of small flying objects, possibly belonging to drones, that fell in the two areas and may have caused the explosion and fire,” police said in a statement, adding that the incidents were under investigation.
Yemen’s army did not claim the attacks. But its spokesman announced a “military operation” in the UAE, a partner in the Saudi war on Yemen.
Yahya Saree tweeted that Yemen’s armed forces had said they would “announce an important military operation in the UAE in the coming hours”.
Yemen has previously threatened to target Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the gleaming crown jewels of the UAE which last year opened its first nuclear power plant, in retaliation for its crimes in the impoverished country.
The latest statement comes two weeks after Yemeni forces seized a UAE-flagged ship, the Rwabee, off the Yemen coast, and released footage showing military equipment on board.
The UAE claimed the Rwabee, whose 11 crew are held, was a “civilian cargo vessel”.
Yemen’s army later rejected a UN Security Council demand for the ship’s immediate release, saying it was “not carrying... toys for children but weapons for extremists”.
The Saudi-led war on Yemen has been a catastrophe for millions of its citizens who have fled their homes, with many on the brink of famine, in what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The UAE joined the war before announcing a change of tack in 2019.
The so-called Giants Brigade, backed by the Saudis and UAE, recently launched an offensive in Yemen in a bid to take Shabwa governorate.
A senior official from Yemen’s popular Ansarullah resistance movement said the UAE should brace for more stinging retaliatory strikes if it does not end its involvement in the atrocious military aggression.
“The UAE should expect more painful attacks if it does not stop attacking Yemen,” Muhammad al-Bukhaiti, a member of Ansarullah’s
political bureau, told Qatari Al Jazeera TV.
Ansarullah spokesman Muhammad Abdulsalam warned Abu Dhabi of severe repercussions should it maintain its acts of sabotage in Yemen.
“A tiny state in the region, which goes to great lengths to serve the United States and Israel, has claimed that it had kept a fair distance from Yemen. The allegations, however, have proven otherwise,” he wrote on his Twitter page.
“Abu Dhabi is recommended to give up its futile actions in Yemen; otherwise its hands and those of its mercenaries will be cut off from the country.”
Yemeni Information Minister Dhaifullah al-Shami said the message of punishment has been well conveyed to Emirati officials.
“The propagandists and organizations that bank on assets from Persian Gulf states, such as the United Nations and Security Council, will now start issuing condemnations and commiserations. Neither the cawing of crows nor the buzzing of flies would disturb us,” Shamni said.
The apparent operation deep inside the UAE came after a Yemeni daily said Saturday that the United Arab Emirates should await a harsh response for its aggression against Yemen, reminding the Persian Gulf country that Abu Dhabi’s fragile glass towers are “easy to reach.”
In an article, Al Masirah newspaper said the Emiratis had entered into a dangerous game by dispatching mercenaries and Takfiri elements under their command to the Yemeni provinces of Ma’rib and Shabwah.
“Observers confirm that the continuation of the Emirati escalation will have a great impact on Abu Dhabi, in the form of material, human, and economic losses; losses that will be inflicted upon the Emirati enemy inside Yemen and deep into [the UAE’s] own geographical depth, which is full of oil installations,” the paper noted.
“The fragile glass towers are easy to reach,” it added.