Houthi terror attacks on Abu Dhabi: UAE will do what it must to keep its citizens, expats safe

UAE's permanent representative to the UN said the intended target was “civilian infrastructure and civilians themselves”.


Sahim Salim

Published: Wed 26 Jan 2022, 11:08 AM

Last updated: Wed 26 Jan 2022, 11:45 PM

Despite the Houthi terror group launching two attacks on Abu Dhabi in just over a week, the UAE will “continue on the track of de-escalation and diplomacy”, a top diplomat has said.

Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, UAE's permanent representative to the UN, however, said the country also reserves the “right to defend ourselves in the region” whether “defensively or offensively”.

“That is the commitment we make as a government to keep our citizens, our 8 million residents from the different 192 member states of the UN safe,” she said in an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson.

Referring to the attacks, Nusseibeh said the intended target was “civilian infrastructure and civilians themselves”.

“This is unacceptable, unprecedented, and constitutes a clear violation of international peace and security,” Nusseibeh said.

“We will continue to prevail, and at the same time, we will reserve the right to defend ourselves, and that right will be practised in a manner consistent with international law, will be proportionate, and abide by international humanitarian law,” the envoy added.

Referring to the Arab coalition’s counter attacks, Nusseibeh said she would not use the word ‘retaliation’ to describe these. “Militias and terrorist groups ‘retaliate’; sovereign states defend themselves against terrorist attacks. That is what we are doing. The Security Council, several international organisations and 120 countries have labelled this a terrorist attack.”

She highlighted the fact that the Houthis have claimed these attacks.

“The Houthis have claimed responsibility for these attacks, they’ve advertised that claim of responsibility... and our own intelligence pinpoints the location of these attacks from areas controlled by the Houthis in Yemen … which is why you will see a proportionate, within the confines of international law, response to those attacks.”

Nusseibeh said the UAE is in serious discussions with the US and other countries on “how we increase (can) pressure on the Houthis to come to the negotiating table”.

“That is the ultimate objective of our military objective today.”

Earlier, Dr Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to the UAE President, had highlighted how the UAE will not succumb to hate and aggression.

“We are proud to reflect our history and culture, and for being an impenetrable fort against the forces of darkness and terrorism,” he said.

Earlier this week, the UAE shot down two ballistic missiles fired over Abu Dhabi, and destroyed the launcher used to mount the attack from Yemen by the Houthi terror group.

The Ministry of Defence posted a video showing F-16 jets gunning down the launcher “immediately” after it launched the ballistic missiles towards Abu Dhabi. The UAE’s defence systems intercepted and destroyed the missiles over Abu Dhabi in the early hours of Monday. Fragments fell safely in different areas of Abu Dhabi, without causing any casualties.

In a strongly worded statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) affirmed that this “violent act cannot go without a thorough and comprehensive response”.


The UAE “reserves the right to respond against these terrorist attacks and such blatant criminal escalation”. The ministry described the attacks as "a heinous crime committed by the terrorist Houthi militia in breach of international and humanitarian laws".

This is the second attack on the UAE mounted by the Houthi terrorists in just over a week. Last week, suspected drone attacks on two civilian facilities in Abu Dhabi left three people dead and six injured. 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.

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