A spokesman for Yemen's Houthi rebels says the group attacked targets in the United Arab Emirates Monday in retaliation for the UAE’s role in a military offensive in Yemen last week. Abu Dhabi police say that three people were killed in attacks on three oil tanker trucks and a target at Abu Dhabi airport.
Saudi coalition forces fired on Houthi militia fighters in Yemen’s Marib province Monday, as the Houthis launched what they say were retaliatory drone and missile attacks on parts of the UAE's economic hub of Abu Dhabi.
Houthi sources in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, told Arab media that they fired eight drones and 10 missiles.
Arab media showed video of smoke rising over the Abu Dhabi skyline, and photos of fires at Abu Dhabi Airport and the UAE's Adnoc oil refinery.
Abu Dhabi police say it appears drones attacked three tanker trucks at the oil refinery and the Abu Dhabi Airport.
Authorities say three people were killed – all said to be Indian or Pakistani nationals. Six others wounded.
Fahmy al Yousifi, Deputy Information Minister of the Houthi government administration that controls Sanaa, told Arab media that the Houthi forces would "continue to retaliate against the United Arab Emirates so long as it remains involved in supporting combatants inside Yemen."
Mohammed Bakhiti, another Houthi advisor in Sanaa, told Qatar's al Jazeera TV that the group had "abstained from attacking the UAE for a long time because it appeared that Abu Dhabi was in the process of pulling its forces out of Yemen."
"Now, the situation has changed, again," he added, after the Saudi-led coalition, of which the UAE is a part, recaptured Yemen’s Shabwa province from the Houthi’s last week.
Middle East analyst Paul Sullivan of the Atlantic Council tells VOA that the Monday attacks on Abu Dhabi were a bad sign for regional security and stability.
"This sort of escalation will come back to bite the Houthis badly. One has to wonder how the drones, if that is what happened, got through (UAE air defenses). This is worrisome for the UAE and the region," he said.
Washington-based Gulf analyst Theodore Karasik tells VOA that the Houthi attacks come at a bad time, given "the desire to lower tensions in the Gulf at this key juncture."
He said “drone attacks are a revolution in military affairs,” as they are being used to make political points.
The attacks could backfire on the Houthis, he added, "because of the killing and injuries to South Asian expats, who make up a large part of the UAE labor force."
Yemeni military analyst Col. Mohammed Qameim told Saudi-owned al Arabiya TV that "Iran is using Yemen as a platform to attack Arab Gulf states." Iran, and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah support the Houthis militarily.