Middle East/North Africa

US F-22 fighter jets arrive at UAE base in wake of Houthi attacks

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United States F-22 fighter jets arrived at an air base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday after Abu Dhabi has been targeted by a series of attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

The jets, intended to be a show of U.S. support, were ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in coordination with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, according to a statement from the United States Air Forces Central Command.

“The unparalleled capabilities of the F-22 in a variety of missions, as well as its ability to interoperate with joint, coalition, allied and partner forces make it ideally suited to serve in the Middle East region during this critical time,” Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot said in the statement. 

The move comes after the Iran-backed Houthis have carried out multiple largely failed attacks on Emirati targets, included two missiles intercepted near a U.S. base, where over 2,000 troops are stationed, and another shot down during a visit from Israel’s president.

The attacks follow the U.N.’s thus far unsuccessful efforts to end the war in Yemen, which began in 2015 and placed the Houthis against a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia that includes the UAE.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon said the U.S. sent other fighter jets and a guided missile destroyer to the UAE after Houthi-led attacks.

At that time, Austin said Washington is taking “a range of actions” to support the UAE. Press secretary John Kirby added at the time that the U.S. will not rule out “additional steps” to help the UAE.

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