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KT Edit: Terror drones pose a regional threat

The attack by the Houthi militia on oil tankers in Abu Dhabi has only strengthened the UAE’s resolve against terror and extremism



A security official inspects the wreckage of an armed drone shot down at the Baghdad airport. — AP file
A security official inspects the wreckage of an armed drone shot down at the Baghdad airport. — AP file

Published: Tue 18 Jan 2022, 12:54 AM

Last updated: Tue 18 Jan 2022, 12:58 AM

Terror groups and militias who possess armed drones that can strike civilian targets and installations pose a risk to regional stability. What’s concerning is the increasing sophistication of these machines fired by Houthi terrorists in Yemen and the distances they have been programmed to cover. How and from who did the group get hold of the technology? Monday’s drones, according to some reports, may have originated in Sanaa in Yemen and travelled 1,800km to Abu Dhabi.

But the attack by the Houthi militia on oil tankers in Abu Dhabi has only strengthened the UAE’s resolve against terror and extremism. The loss of three lives and injuries to six others on oil tanks near an industrial area in Abu Dhabi has shocked people who share in the grief of the victims’ families.

The attack comes in the backdrop of tensions over Iran’s nuclear talks and the recent seizure of a UAE-flagged ship by the Houthis off Yemen. It follows the recent reverses suffered by the militia, including the retaking of an oil field town. Patience is running out against the rebels who will pay a heavy price for attempting (and failing) to destroy the peace in the UAE.

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Mercifully, quick action by civil defence units helped put out the blaze that didn’t cause much damage to the facilities. Further investigation will confirm the origins of these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and their trajectory. It is, therefore, important not to jump to conclusions before the investigations are completed by competent authorities. It is also important to stay calm and let the probe throw up answers.

Drones have been used by the Houthis in their attempt to destabilise the region in recent years. Not a week goes by in the kingdom without reports of drone attacks. Air defences have managed to stave off such raids that are coming in waves.

Limited drone warfare has been adopted by the militant proxy as it is relatively low-cost and can cause extensive damage without them actually getting into a conflict on foreign soil. A cluster of drones fired by the Houthi rebels in Yemen hit Saudi oil facilities three years ago.

These low-flying, bomb-laden killer machines fired by the militants are hard to detect and pose a near and present danger to countries in the Middle East. The Houthis have expanded the theatre of war with advanced drones targeting civilians. They will pay heavily for this misadventure. The UAE will respond at a time and place of its choosing.


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