US adds “threat of missile or drone attacks” to travel advisory for UAE

Jan 27, 2022: The US State Department has added “risk of missile or drone strikes” to the UAE’s travel advisory, which was already on the United States list of “no travel” sites due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department on Thursday added a new potential threat to its travel warning for the UAE – which is already at its highest, “do not travel” level.

“The possibility of attacks affecting US citizens and interests in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula remains an ongoing, serious concern,” the Department of State said.

“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 update to the advisory comes 10 days after a drone and missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed to have killed three people in Abu Dhabi. Another missile strike targeting the UAE capital on Monday temporarily disrupted air traffic.

The US military said it helped intercept two Houthi missiles on Monday that were aimed at Al Dhafra airbase, which hosts approximately 2,000 American service members.

The State Department recently increased travel advisory for most countries around the world, including neighboring Canada, to “not travel” because of COVID-19. There are four levels of warning, the least of which are “general precautions”.

The Houthis recently began directly targeting the United Arab Emirates – a key ally of Saudi Arabia, which is leading the bombing campaign against the Houthis. The Saudi-led and US-backed coalition intervened in 2015 to push back Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have seized much of the country, including the capital Sanaa, and the Gulf-backed government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The war has brought Yemen to the brink of famine, which the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The coalition accuses the rebels of being Iran’s proxy – an allegation both Houthis and Tehran deny.

While the UAE has said it has withdrawn its troops from Yemen, the Houthis have accused the country of backing anti-insurgency forces across the country. The Houthis say the attacks on the UAE were in response to “US-Saudi aggression”.

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