DUBAI, United Arab Emirates ( Associated Press) — The United Arab Emirates intercepted several drones fired at the country at dawn Wednesday, the UAE military said, the fourth such attack on the federation in recent weeks.
It didn’t specify who launched the drones and from where but suspicion fell on Yemen’s Iran-backed rebel Houthis. The Houthis have claimed responsibility for several drone and missile attacks on the UAE that have widened Yemen’s 7-year-old civil war and fueled regional tensions.
In a short statement just before midnight Wednesday on Twitter, the Emirati Defense Ministry said it had destroyed three “hostile drones” that targeted the UAE at dawn. It said the interception occurred “away from populated areas,” without elaborating.
The Houthis have been battling a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE since 2015 after the rebels took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. The war reached Emirati soil for the first time last month, when the Houthis fired drones and missiles at the country. US and Emirati forces have jointly intercepted the past two aerial attacks, including one earlier this week as Israel’s president began a historic visit to the Gulf Arab country.
Another attack in mid-January killed three workers from India and Pakistan and wounded six others.
There was no immediate comment from Yemen’s Houthis on any drone launches Wednesday. However, the rebel group’s media office posted a claim from a largely unknown group called the “True Promise Brigade” that said it launched four drones at the UAE in retaliation for its “interference” in the region, without offering evidence to support its claim.
The UAE said it was ready “to deal with any threats and is taking all necessary measures to protect the state.”
The escalation has threatened the UAE’s reputation as a haven for international business in a region mired in conflict and collapse. Expats outnumber locals in the Emirates nearly nine to one.