2 Indians, 1 Pakistani killed in suspected Houthi drone attack in Abu Dhabi
Dubai, Jan 17 (PTI) Two Indians and a Pakistani national were killed and six others injured on Monday in a suspected Houthi drone attack near the Abu Dhabi airport that sparked multiple explosions in the United Arab Emirates' capital.
The explosions were caused by "small flying objects", possibly drones, that hit three petroleum tankers in Abu Dhabi, police said.
Another minor fire broke out in the new construction area of the Abu Dhabi International Airport, according to the state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM).
It said that the fire that broke out in the Musaffah ICAD 3 area near the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) resulted in the explosion of three petroleum tankers.
"Preliminary investigations suggest that the cause of the fires are small flying objects, possibly belonging to drones, that fell in the two areas,” it said, adding that the fire has been brought under control.
Abu Dhabi police identified the dead as two Indian nationals and one Pakistani.
Another six persons sustained mild and moderate injuries, police said, without disclosing their identity.
The Indian Embassy in UAE said that the mission is in close touch with concerned UAE authorities for further details.
"UAE authorities have informed that the explosion at Mussafah, near ADNOC’s storage tanks, has led to 3 casualties, which includes 2 Indian nationals. The Mission @IndembAbuDhabi is in close touch with concerned UAE authorities for further details,” the Indian Embassy in UAE tweeted.
Authorities have launched an extensive investigation into the cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding it, police said.
"However, there are no significant damages resulting from the two accidents," WAM reported.
The fire that broke out in the construction area of the Abu Dhabi Airport on Monday "resulted in a short disruption for a small number of flights".
An Etihad Airways spokesperson told the Khaleej Times newspaper that normal airport operations were quickly resumed. The disruption was the result of “precautionary measures”.
"The safety and comfort of our guests and crew is our number one priority,” the spokesperson added.
The UAE didn’t immediately blame anyone for the attack. However, Yemen's Houthi rebels have claimed that they targeted the United Arab Emirates, without giving details.
Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels said they would soon make a statement about "a special military operation that was carried out in the heart of the UAE," the Houthi-owned Al Masirah TV channel said on Monday.
Yemen's Houthi group has taken responsibility for several attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities in the past. The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen fighting Houthi rebels.
Saudi Arabia has condemned the attack in a statement.
"We condemn in the strongest of words the cowardly terror attack that targeted Abu Dhabi International Airport in the UAE," the kingdom's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
"The kingdom also points out that this terror attack which the Houthi militia is behind reconfirms the danger that this terror group poses and its threat to the security, peace and stability in the region and the world."