Houthi terror attack on Abu Dhabi: What we know so far

UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation condemned the attack and vowed that it will not go unpunished


Sahim Salim

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Published: Tue 18 Jan 2022, 2:15 PM

Last updated: Tue 18 Jan 2022, 10:51 PM

Support is continuing to pour in for the UAE after suspected drone attacks on two civilian facilities in Abu Dhabi by Yemen-based Houthi militants left three people dead and six injured.

World leaders and organisations like the United Nations have condemned the cowardly attack. Many have pledged support for the measures the UAE takes to maintain security and stability.

Here is all we know so far:

When was the attack first confirmed?

Around 1pm on Monday, the Abu Dhabi Police confirmed that two fires had broken out in the UAE Capital, possibly caused by drones. One fire caused an explosion in three Adnoc fuel tankers in Mussafah. Another minor fire broke out in the new construction area of the Abu Dhabi International Airport.

What caused the fires? Were drones involved?

The Abu Dhabi Police said their preliminary investigations suggest the fires were caused by fragments “possibly belonging to drones”, which fell in the two areas.

Were there any casualties?

Three people were killed in the Mussafah Fuel Depot explosions. Two were Indians, and the third, a Pakistani.

Six others, two of whom are Indians, were wounded. Their injuries were described as “mild to moderate”.

The fire in the construction area of the Abu Dhabi International Airport did not result in any casualties.

Did the fire cause any delays in flights?

The incident at the airport “resulted in a short disruption for a small number of flights”, Etihad said in a statement. Normal airport operations were resumed quickly, the airline added.

Has Adnoc offered any further details about the incident?

The company confirmed that the incident happened around 10am and that the three deceased and six injured were Adnoc employees. It said that professional support has been extended to families of all those who have been impacted.

“We are working closely with the relevant authorities to determine the exact cause and a detailed investigation has commenced,” Adnoc said in a statement.

Will the UAE retaliate?

The UAE has vowed that the attacks will not go unpunished.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said in a statement: "We condemn the Houthi militia's targeting of civilian areas and facilities on UAE soil today. We reiterate that those responsible for this unlawful targeting of our country will be held accountable."

The foreign ministry said the UAE reserves the right to respond to these “terrorist attacks and criminal escalation”.

Dr Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to the UAE President, said terror groups cannot tamper with the safety and security of the region. The UAE is dealing with the attacks “transparently and responsibly”, he tweeted.


How has the world reacted to the attacks?

Regional and international leaders have been extending their support to the UAE, calling the attacks “cowardly”. Many have urged the world to come together to address the threats posed by the Houthis.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia, personally called His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to condemn the terror attack.

The two leaders affirmed such terrorist attacks that target the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE “solidify the two nations' determination to jointly stand up to these acts of aggression”.

The official Spokesperson of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, Brigadier General Turki Al-Malki, called the attacks of the terrorist, Iran-backed Houthi militia “war crimes”.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan the country’s commitment to the security of the UAE is “unwavering and we stand beside our Emirati partners against all threats to their territory”.

UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss condemned the attack “in the strongest terms”.

United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres stressed that such attacks are prohibited by international humanitarian law.

The Russian Federation Parliament (State Duma) said the attack was “especially heinous due to the fact that Abu Dhabi has been implementing a policy to promote peace and stability in the region, provide significant humanitarian aid and contribute to projects to rebuild Yemen”.

Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Costa Rica, Turkey, Greece, France, Jordan, Morocco and Mauritania are among the other countries that have expressed solidarity with the UAE.


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