US helped intercept ballistic missiles over UAE: Centcom
The U.S. military said on Monday that the “combined efforts” of both American and United Arab Emirates forces “successfully prevented” a missile attack in Abu Dhabi.
U.S. Central Command Spokesman Captain Bill Urban said in a statement that “U.S. forces at Al Dhafra Air Base, near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), engaged two inbound missile threats with multiple Patriot interceptors coincident to efforts by the armed forces of the UAE in the early morning hours of Jan. 24, 2022.”
He added that the combined efforts successfully prevented both missiles from impacting the U.S. base, where over 2,000 troops are stationed. Al Dhafra is home to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing and has both U.S. and U.K. forces stationed there, according to The Associated Press.
“There were no U.S. casualties,” Urban added. “U.S. forces at Al Dhafra remain vigilant and ready to respond in case of any follow-on attacks.”
Urban added that U.S. troops took shelter in bunkers during the attack.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters Monday “it would be foolish not to assume that there that there was a threat to our people. And as you saw from the results, we took that threat seriously.”
“We are certainly going to be looking into the possibility that this was directed at at our forces, we obviously take that seriously. We responded to this ballistic missile attack and we’ll be in close coordination with our Emirati partners as we continue to to assess what happened and what we might need to do going forward,” he added.
Kirby said he couldn’t say what the intent of of the attack was.
The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi issued a security alert to U.S. citizens living in the region, cautioning them to “maintain a high level of security awareness,” the AP added.
The UAE’s Ministry of Defense said earlier on Monday that “its air defense forces had intercepted and destroyed two ballistic missiles targeting the UAE, which were fired by the Houthi militia,” according to state news agency WAM.
The ministry added there were “no casualties resulting from the attack, and the fragments of the ballistic missiles fell in different areas” around Abu Dhabi.
A Houthi military spokesperson, Yahya Sarea, claimed responsibility for the attack. He said in a statement that the Zulfiqar ballistic missiles were fired at Al Dhafra airbase in Abu Dhabi, which is used by the United States, and other “sensitive targets,” Reuters reported.
Sarea said the group had also launched drones toward Dubai, the newswire added.
“We advise foreign companies and investors in the UAE to leave as it has become unsafe,” he said, adding that the Houthis were ready to “meet escalation with escalation.”
The recent attack comes as tensions are heightened in the UAE after the Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for a drone attack in Abu Dhabi that killed three people and left six others wounded. A day after the first attack, a Saudi-led coalition targeted Houthi rebels in Yemen in a strike that killed at least 70 people, The New York Times reported.
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