The United Arab Emirates announced early on Monday that it had intercepted a ballistic missile launched at the country by Yemeni Houthi militants. The interception is the third known launch and interception of a Houthi ballistic missile targeting the UAE in as many weeks.
The Emirati defense ministry did not provide details on what the intended target of the ballistic missile was, following two attacks across the previous two weeks that targeted Abu Dhabi. Debris from the destroyed missile landed on an uninhabited area according to the ministry, with no casualties or damage to property reported. The defense ministry has since released targeting pod footage of what it claims to be the destruction of the launch facility the missile was launched from, in Yemen’s Al-Jawf Governorate.
The attack also came during a visit to Abu Dhabi by Israeli President Isaac Herzog, the first such visit following the 2020 normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE. An Israeli official that spoke to Reuters said that Herzog had spent the night in Abu Dhabi after discussing security and bilateral relations with Emirati Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. Herzog’s office has since stated that the visit will continue despite the Houthi attack, saying that “there was no danger posed nor is there danger posed to the president and his delegation”.
The attacks appear to have started following a series of Houthi military reverses in Yemen’s northern Marib and Shabwa Governorates, with pro-government Giants Brigades forces rolling back territorial gains made over the past year by the Iran-backed Houthis. While the Giants Brigade forces announced on 28 January that they had ended their offensive, the continuation of ballistic missile attacks on the UAE reflects on the continuing Houthi desire to strike a symbolic blow as retribution for their setbacks.
Following the 24 January attack that saw American Patriot batteries defending al-Dhafra Air Base join Emirati Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems in intercepting ballistic missiles launched at Abu Dhabi, the Emirati public prosecutor announced that it had summoned several people who had shared amateur footage of the intercepts. As a result, no footage of the Monday interception has surfaced on social media as of writing.