Cruise missiles and ballistic missiles were used alongside drones in Monday’s attack on the United Arab Emirates, and several weapons were intercepted, the UAE ambassador to the United States said.
It was the first time the UAE, which rarely discusses its security in public, had said missiles were used in the attack which killed three civilians in Abu Dhabi, and the first time it has claimed to have intercepted some of the weapons.
Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group has claimed it carried out the attack with five ballistic missiles and a number of drones. Abu Dhabi police had said they found parts of small planes that could possibly be drones, but made no mention of missiles.
“Several attacks – a combination of cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and drones – targeted civilian sites in the UAE. Several were intercepted,” UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba told an online panel hosted by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).
In response to the attacks, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday his administration was considering re-designating the Houthis an international terrorist organization. The Biden administration lifted that designation last February; the UAE has called for it to be restored.
The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen. While the UAE said in 2020 it had withdrawn its own troops, it has armed and trained Yemeni forces that joined fighting this year against the Houthis in the energy-producing Shabwa and Marib regions.
The UAE had “long left the Yemen war,” Otaiba said in his comments to JINSA. “Attacking a country that is not in combat makes a very clear case” to reinstate the Houthi terrorist designation.