ABU DHABI // A sombre dawn military ceremony was held on Wednesday to mark the return of a UAE Armed Forces soldier who died while training in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
Non-commissioned officer Hazim Obaid Al Ali, 40, died in exercises as part of the Armed Forces’ involvement in Operation Restoring Hope with the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
Mr Al Ali’s body was flown in accompanied by officers, and the ceremony was attended by many senior Armed Forces personnel.
His brother Mohammed, 29, said his family had been told of Mr Al Ali’s death just before iftar on Tuesday.
"Our only consolation is that Hazim died for our country," he told Al Ittihad, the sister newspaper of The National.
“He was very happy to be serving our beloved homeland. He would always make sure to ingrain allegiance to the homeland and to our leadership in his children.” Mohammed said his brother had been a father to him and their seven sisters after their parents died when the children were young.
The serviceman had seven children, between the ages of 3 and 14. His eldest son Obaid, 13, said he had last spoken to his father on Monday.
“He called to check on us, and asked me to take care of my siblings and be the man of the house in his absence,” Obaid said.
“He told me he would be home in 15 days and would spend the Eid Al Fitr holidays with us.”
Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah offered his condolences to the family members of Mr Al Ali, who he described as a national hero and a martyr of duty and patriotism.
The hashtag #HazeemAlAliUAEMartyr has been trending on Twitter in Arabic in tribute to the serviceman.