American citizens have been told to reconsider their travel plans to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as the rest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to the ‘ongoing’ and ‘serious’ threat of missile or drone attacks by Houthi terrorist militias. The warning came as the UAE announced that it had thwarted a third missile attack of the Sheikdom in less than a month.
The UAE’s Ministry of Defence announced on Monday that it had successfully intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired into the country from Yemen. Defence sources said a counterattack had destroyed the missile launchers involved in the attempted attack.
“There were no casualties resulting from the attack and the fragments of the ballistic missile fell outside of populated areas,” a military source was quoted as saying by the official WAM news agency.
The source said the military maintained “full readiness to deal with any threat”. The UAE uses the U.S. made THAAD missile defence system which is made by Lockheed Martin.
THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System is capable of shooting ballistic missiles out o the sky before they reach their intended target. The UAE first acquired THAAD in 2015 but the UAE has suggested it was looking to boost its missile defence capabilities.
The system failed to fully protect the UAE capital Abu Dhabi in a January 17 which killed three and left six other people injured. It appears that an oil storage facility was targeted but a fire also broke out at a construction site at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
A second attack on January 24 was prevented when THADD shot down at least two ballistic missiles over Abu Dhabi. Video footage of the attack was shared on social media but prosecutors have since warned citizens and residents that they face criminal charges if they share similar footage in the future.
The Houthi rebels have long threatened attacks on the UAE’s aviation infrastructure.
The General Civil Aviation Authority, however, reassured travellers that the country’s airports remained open and that there was “no impact” on flights.
The travel advisory from the U.S. State Department warns American citizens that the “possibility of attacks affecting U.S. citizens and interests in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula remains an ongoing, serious concern.”
“Rebel groups operating in Yemen have stated an intent to attack neighboring countries, including the UAE, using missiles and drones. Recent missile and drone attacks targeted populated areas and civilian infrastructure.”
The ‘reconsider travel’ advisory is the second strongest warning on a four scale rating. The UAE is already subject to the highest Do not travel’ advisory because of the local COVID-19 situation.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.