Drones sparked an explosion on three oil tankers in Abu Dhabi and may have caused a separate fire at an extension of Abu Dhabi Airport, police said on January 17. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) state-run news agency said that the suspected drone attacks killed three people and wounded an additional six. The report, which cited local authorities, added that the wounded are suffering mild and medium injuries.
What caused the fire and explosion?
Abu Dhabi police said in a statement that the airport fire was "minor," adding that it broke out at an extension of the airport that is still under construction. The statement said that there was a separate blast on three petroleum transport tankers near a storage facility for Abu Dhabi's state-owned oil company. "Preliminary investigations indicate the detection of small flying objects, possibly belonging to drones, that fell in the two areas and may have caused the explosion and fire," the statement said. Police added that there was no significant damage from the incidents.
Houthis announce 'operations'
Senior Emirati diplomat Anwar Gargash blamed Yemen's Houthi rebels for the attack which they also confirmed. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree earlier in the day said the group had launched a military operation "deep in the UAE," adding that a statement will be released soon. The Houthis have claimed responsibility for previous attacks on Abu Dhabi's airport as well as on the Barakah nuclear power plant. These attacks were denied by Emirati authorities. The Houthis have previously used drones to launch crude and imprecise attacks aimed at Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The UAE is a key member of the Saudi-led coalition which has been fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015, in support of the country's internationally recognized government. The Houthi movement controls most of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa. Earlier this month, Houthis seized an Emirati-flagged vessel that they claimed was a "military cargo ship." The Saudi-led coalition claimed that the ship was carrying medical supplies.
sdi/rs (AP, AFP, Reuters)