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Bennett offers UAE ‘security and intelligence support’ after attack by Houthis

PM says ‘Israel stands with the UAE,’ offers condolences to victims of missile strike on Abu Dhabi: ‘We will continue to partner with you to defeat our common enemies’

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (left) meets with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the latter's Abu Dhabi palace on December 13, 2021. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (left) meets with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the latter's Abu Dhabi palace on December 13, 2021. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday offered Israel’s “security and intelligence support” to the United Arab Emirates following a missile and drone attack that killed three people in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi.

In a statement, Bennett condemned the attack, claimed by the Houthi rebels in Yemen. “I strongly condemn the terrorist attacks in Abu Dhabi carried out by the Iranian-backed Houthis and send condolences to the families of the innocent victims,” Bennett said.

“Israel stands with the UAE. I stand with [Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Zayed. The world should stand against terror.”

In a letter to bin Zayed, Bennett said Jerusalem was committed to working with Abu Dhabi “in the ongoing battle against extremist forces in the region, and we will continue to partner with you to defeat our common enemies.”

He said he had “ordered the Israeli security establishment to provide their counterparts in the UAE with any assistance” that could help to protect against future attacks.

The UAE vowed reprisals after the Houthi attack on Monday triggered a fuel tank blast that killed the three victims.

The United Arab Emirates is part of a Saudi-led military coalition that supports Yemen’s government against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who have repeatedly targeted Saudi Arabia with cross-border strikes.

Screenshot from video purportedly showing fire after drone attack in Abu Dhabi on January 17, 2022. The video could not be independently verified (Screen grab)

After the attack, the coalition launched fresh strikes “targeting Houthi camps and headquarters” in Sanaa, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Al-Ekhbariya TV tweeted. The strikes killed 11 people in Yemen’s rebel-held capital Sanaa, witnesses said

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said Monday: “We condemn the Houthi terrorist militia’s targeting of civilian areas and facilities on UAE soil today… this sinful targeting will not go unpunished.” His ministry described the attack as a “heinous criminal escalation.”

United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan listens during a news conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, June 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell, File)

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said that they had “carried out… a successful military operation” against “important and sensitive Emirati sites and installations” using both ballistic missiles and drones.

The incident follows a surge in fighting in Yemen including advances by UAE-trained troops. The rebels also seized a UAE-flagged ship and its international crew earlier this month.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation all condemned the “terrorist” attack. Eight Houthi drones targeting Saudi Arabia were also intercepted, the coalition said.

The rebels have previously threatened to target Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the gleaming crown jewels of the UAE which last year opened its first nuclear power plant.

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