As Israeli President visits UAE, UAE intercepts a Yemeni missile

DUBAI (UAE) -- On Monday, Isaac Herzog, Israeli president, was in the UAE when a ballistic missile from Yemeni rebels was fired. This was the third such attack in the past few weeks.

As Israeli President visits UAE, UAE intercepts a Yemeni missile

This attack only adds to the tensions in the Persian Gulf. It has already seen a series attacks as Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers collapses and Yemen's long-running war rages on.

Negotiators in Vienna are now trying to revive the agreement and Emirati-backed troops press on the Iran, Iran-backed Houthis rebels launch their longest-range attack yet. This is a significant challenge for Emirates, which promotes itself as a safe area in a dangerous neighborhood to international businesses.

According to the UAE's WAM news agency, the attack was not reported by any loss. The remnants of the missile fell far from the populated areas.

It was not immediately clear from where the debris fell. According to the country's civil air traffic control agency, there were no adverse effects on travel in the UAE. This is home to long-haul carriers Emirates as well as Etihad.

The UAE is an autocratic federation made up seven sheikhdoms located on the Arabian Peninsula. This threatens anyone who posts images or films of such an incident to face criminal prosecution.

Instead, the Emirati Defense Minister released black-and-white footage that it claimed showed the destruction of a ballistic rocket launcher in Yemen's al-Jawf region about 30 minutes after the attack. This was the same footage it released after last week’s attack. Analysts believe the Emiratis might be receiving Western intelligence support for its strikes.

Al-Jawf lies approximately 1,350 km (840 miles) southwest Abu Dhabi.

Yehia Sarei, the Houthi military spokesperson, spoke out later Monday. He claimed that rebels had attacked "sensitive sites" within Abu Dhabi and Dubai using both Zulfiqar missiles and drones. However, he did not provide any evidence to support his claims.

He reiterated the warnings of the group that international headquarters would be the next target in future attacks.

Sarei shouted, "The Emirates will continue to be an enemy as long as the actions by the Israeli enemy in Abu Dhabi or Dubai," from the podium.

Herzog, Israel’s ceremonial president, visited the UAE Monday to make the first official visit of an Israeli head-of-state to the Gulf Arab country. He had held lengthy talks in Abu Dhabi with the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the capital. There he reiterated Israel's support for "security requirements" of the UAE and condemned the recent attacks.

Herzog visited Dubai's Expo 2020 world fair on Monday. The Houthis had previously threatened that Herzog would be targeted. He addressed the crowd from the dome that is the center of the Expo 2020 world's fair. His speech was carefully written and extolled Israel's innovation, its presence at it, and the growing economic cooperation with the UAE.

He was surrounded by a dozen dark-suited, close protection officers as he arrived at the Israeli flag-raising ceremony.

Herzog stated that "Israelis are standing together, learning from each other's cultures and languages." He also gave some numbers about their cooperation: $1 billion in trade, $100 million for research and development, and 250,000 Israelis have visited UAE's coast cities.

He said, "I look forward the great achievements that will undoubtedly arise from the seeds planted right there, together." This was not a decision to normalize ties, but to create a new tomorrow.

Before being quickly shepherded away, he urged more countries to recognize Israel under the so-called Abraham Accords.

Dubai's Expo 2020 ordered the AP and other international media not to publish images or videos of Herzog's visit until the afternoon. Expo officials claim that the order was issued at the request Israeli officials.

Ned Price, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, condemned the Houthi attack. Price posted on Twitter that "Israel's president is in the UAE to promote stability and build bridges, but the Houthis continue their attacks that threaten civilians."

Saeed Khatibzadeh from Iran, the spokesperson for Iran's foreign ministry, condemned Israel's visit to UAE.

He stated that "Invasion and expansionism are part of Israel's policy" and described the normalization in relations with Israel as a source for "rift-making within the Islamic and Arab Worlds."

Khatibzadeh was asked about Monday's Houthi missile strike on the UAE. He responded with a softening tone, saying that the "cycle violence should end."

The Syrian state media reported that an Israeli strike had occurred near Damascus in the hours following the attack. It was not immediately acknowledged by the Israeli military.

In December, the Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet made his first official visit in person to the UAE. He also held talks with Sheikh Mohammed. These visits were made after Bahrain and the UAE recognized Israel and established diplomatic relations in 2020. This was condemned by Palestinian leaders who considered it a betrayal.

A similar attack was carried out last week by both Emirati forces and U.S. forces. They fired interceptor missiles to bring down a Houthi rocket near Al-Dhafra Air Base, Abu Dhabi. This base houses approximately 2,000 American troops. On Monday's intercepted missile, the U.S. military didn't respond to our requests for comment.

A Houthi drone and missile attack on an Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. fuel station had occurred the week before. Three people were killed and six others were injured when South Korean President Moon Jaein visited the UAE.

These attacks have helped to push Brent benchmark crude oil prices above $90 per barrel, further straining an economy that is already struggling with inflation from the coronavirus pandemic.

While the UAE has mostly withdrawn its forces from Yemen, it continues to support militias fighting the Houthis who took Sanaa in September 2014. The conflict was entered by a Saudi-led coalition of which the UAE is part.

Although Iran denies arming the Houthis despite U.N reports, independent analysts, and Western nations pointing to evidence indicating Tehran's connection to the weapons, Experts disagree on how much control Tehran has over the Houthis.

After the January 1st round of Houthi missiles, the Saudi coalition attacked a prison killing around 90 people and removing Yemen from the internet for several days.

Although Emirati troops were killed in conflict, the war has not had an impact on daily life in UAE, which is home to a large foreign workforce.

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