DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Three people are reportedly dead and six injured in an attack in Abu Dhabi on Monday claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The attack caused fires and resulted in three petroleum tanker explosions near state oil firm ADNOC’s storage facilities. The deceased are one Pakistani and two Indian nationals, according to UAE state news agency WAM.
The fires began Monday afternoon in the industrial area of Musaffah and at a construction site near Abu Dhabi International airport in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi police said in a statement. Authorities believe the attack was carried out by drones.
“Preliminary investigations suggest that the cause of the fires are small flying objects, possibly belonging to drones, that fell in the two areas. Teams from the competent authorities have been dispatched and the fire is currently being put out,” the police statement said.
The initial statement said there were “no significant damages resulting from the two accidents”, adding that an investigation has been launched.
A spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi movement, which since 2015 has been at war with a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE, said that its militants have launched a military operation in the Gulf sheikhdom and that it would reveal more details in the hours to come, according to Reuters.
The UAE largely withdrew from Yemen in 2019, roughly four years into a bloody war that has plunged the Middle East’s poorest country into mass starvation and fueled the proxy fighting between Saudi Arabia and its regional adversary Iran, which backs the Houthis with funding and weapons.
Abu Dhabi still carries significant influence among Yemeni forces it has armed and trained to combat the Houthis, who in 2014 forced out Yemen’s Saudi-backed government led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The Houthis have carried out hundreds of cross-border missile and drone attacks into Saudi Arabia in the years since Riyadh launched its aerial assault on Yemen, which has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis.