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The UAE claims to have shot down three drones that had invaded its airspace

FILE PHOTO: UAE flag flies over a boat at Dubai Marina, Dubai, United Arab Emirates May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

The UAE’s defence ministry said three drones entered the Gulf nation’s airspace over unpopulated areas early on Wednesday and were intercepted and destroyed.

The news: Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi militia has launched repeated attacks on the business and tourism hub in recent weeks, including a missile attack on Monday during a visit by Israel’s president.

  • On Twitter, the Emirati defence ministry said it was “ready to deal with any threats” and was taking “all necessary measures” to protect the state and its territory.
  • The Houthis have claimed responsibility for the last three attacks on the UAE, including one on Jan 17 in Abu Dhabi that killed three people, but have not declared a new operation.
  • According to SITE Intelligence Outfit, which monitors jihadist websites, the drone launch on Wednesday was claimed by a little-known group known as the “True Promise Brigades.”
  • The group’s only other claim came in January 2021, when it claimed to have launched a drone at Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition in Yemen that includes the UAE.

What’s going on: During the seven-year battle, the Houthis targeted Saudi Arabia with cross-border missiles and drone launches, but they recently expanded their reach to include the UAE as Emirati-backed Yemeni forces joined the fight against the group in energy-producing regions.

  • Following the strikes, the U.S. announced on Tuesday that it would send fighter jets to assist the UAE, one of which was directed at a US military base.
  • The alliance intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis overthrew the government in the capital, Sanaa, and is widely considered as a proxy conflict between rival Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran.
  • On Wednesday, Iran’s foreign minister spoke by phone with his Emirati colleague on Yemen.

The UAE reduced its military participation in Yemen in 2019 due to a military standoff and increased regional tensions with Iran, but it still wields power through local forces it arms and trains and has taken part in coalition air attacks.

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