US State Department adds 'drone and missile threat' to UAE travel advisory

US State Department adds 'drone and missile threat' to UAE travel advisory
2 min read
28 January, 2022
The US State of Department has updated its travel advisory to the UAE to include the 'threat of missile or drone attacks", following an attack on Abu Dhabi by Yemen's Houthis.
The UAE was already on the State Department's 'Do Not Travel' list due to Covid-19 [Getty]

The US State Department called on Thursday for Americans to “reconsider travel” to the United Arab Emirates “due to the threat of missile or drone attacks.”

The State Department's update to travel guidance follows a deadly drone attack on the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi earlier this month.

“The possibility of attacks affecting US citizens and interests in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula remains an ongoing, serious concern,” the advisory on the State Department's website read.

“Rebel groups operating in Yemen have stated an intent to attack neighbouring countries, including the UAE, using missiles and drones. Recent missile and drone attacks targeted populated areas and civilian infrastructure.”

The UAE was already on the United States’ "Do Not Travel" list, due to "a very high level of Covid-19 in the country".

Analysis
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A Houthi missile and drone attack on oil storage facilities shook the capital city of Abu Dhabi on 17 January and left two Indians and one Pakistani dead. The attack was the first of its kind on Emirati soil.

Another missile attack targeting the UAE capital on Monday, which the US military helped intercept, temporarily disrupted air traffic.

In response to Washington's travel warning, an Emirati official told AFP that the UAE remains “one of the most secure countries”.

“This is not going to be the new normal [for the UAE],” the official said.

However, a Houthi spokesperson warned on Tuesday that the Yemeni rebel group might attack the Dubai Expo currently taking place in the UAE.

The UAE has played a major role fighting as part of Saudi-led coalition which intervened in Yemen ostensibly on behalf of Yemen's internationally recognized government in 2015, after the Houthis captured the capital Sana'a.

However, it has also backed southern separatist groups who have challenged the Yemeni government's authority.

In 2019 the UAE announced that it was withdrawing troops from Yemen.