Timeline of the deadly Abu Dhabi attack by Houthi terrorists

Details emerged throughout the day as the rebel group was blamed for the strike

On Monday, the UAE capital was struck by two blasts that left three people dead and six injured.

The UAE government said the Yemeni rebel group the Houthis was behind the attack, which was condemned by world leaders.

Here is a timeline of what unfolded and what we know so far.

10AM: STRIKE ON ADNOC FUEL DEPOT AND ABU DHABI AIRPORT

Adnoc said the explosions at its oil storage plant in Mussaffah, about 20 kilometres outside of Abu Dhabi city, occurred at approximately 10am on Monday. Projectiles caused three oil tankers parked outside to explode.

The plant is a staging point for petrol deliveries across the country. The explosion and fire that followed was heard and seen from kilometres away.

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A strike on a second location, Abu Dhabi's airport, led to a small fire in an extension away from the main building.

Nearby residents in Mussaffah said they felt windows shake and heard a bang. Social media images showed plumes of smoke rising from the industrial area, though some channels were filled with hoax images throughout the day. The authorities have not released images of the scene.

11AM: PLANES IN HOLDING PATTERN

Data from Flight Radar 24 showed at least eight planes were placed in a holding pattern about 100km off the coast of Abu Dhabi. Etihad, based at Abu Dhabi, said services were only briefly disrupted. It is understood several planes were diverted to Dubai.

Officials have not said whether the fire was at the new Midfield terminal or the existing airport, but said it was an extension that was under construction and that damage was minor and only briefly disrupted services. No deaths nor injuries were reported. On Tuesday, services were running normally, the airport's live update board showed.

1.07PM: POLICE CONFIRM TWIN INCIDENTS

By 1pm, Abu Dhabi Police confirmed there had been an explosion in Mussaffah and a small fire at the airport. Police and state news agency Wam said that “small flying objects, possibly drones, fell in the two areas and may have caused the explosion and fire".

Services at Abu Dhabi airport were briefly disrupted with some planes placed in a holding pattern off the coast of the capital, flight radar trackers showed. Reuters

2.56PM: POLICE CONFIRM DEATHS AND BRING MUSSAFFAH FIRE UNDER CONTROL

Police announced that three people had died and six were injured in the explosion at the Adnoc plant. Two of the dead were from India and one from Pakistan.

A blaze in Mussaffah's ICAD 3 district is brought under control. Adnoc later said specialist units from its personnel worked with civil defence and other emergency services to tackle the blaze.

7PM: ADNOC TRIBUTE TO EMPLOYEES KILLED IN BLAZE

Adnoc confirmed all nine casualties were its employees, with six suffering injuries and receiving specialist care.

“Professional support teams are supporting the families of all those who have been impacted,” it said.

“At this time, the entire Adnoc family extends its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of our colleagues who died this morning.”

Indian ambassador Sunjay Sudhir said his government was working to support the families of the Indian citizens affected.

8PM: GOVERNMENT SAYS HOUTHIS RESPONSIBLE

Shortly after 8pm, senior Emirati officials revealed that evidence showed the Houthis were behind the attack, which they described as a terrorist strike on civilian facilities.

Dr Anwar Gargash, special adviser to the UAE President, described the strike as a “heinous act".

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation said in a statement that it “reserves the right to respond to these terrorist attacks and this sinister criminal escalation".

Officials stressed the investigation was continuing and have not publicly confirmed that the strikes were aerial drones.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain were among the first nations to condemn the blasts and offer solidarity to the Emirates.

8PM-MIDNIGHT: GLOBAL RESPONSE TO ABU DHABI BLASTS

World leaders offered their condemnation and support following the deadly blasts.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, received calls from foreign ministers and heads of state, along with the UN and EU.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the blasts, while White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan labelled the strike a “terrorist attack” that left “three innocent civilians” dead.

Arab leaders have pledged their support and condemned the Houthi group.

Updated: January 19, 2022, 8:41 AM
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