Hundreds turn out for funerals of Emirati soldiers killed in Yemen
AL AIN // Hundreds of people, including relatives and members of the Armed Forces, turned out in Al Ain on Thursday for the funeral of a serviceman, one of four Emiratis killed in Yemen on Tuesday.
The body of Ali Khamis Al Ketbi, 29, was laid to rest at the Armed Forces Martyrs’ Mosque in the Jahili neighbourhood. Some of his relatives were overcome with emotion.
“The sadness is there but so is the pride in Ali,” said Salem, his oldest brother, who had returned to the UAE from Yemen on Wednesday.
The 38-year-old, who was serving in Marib when he learnt of his brother’s death, said he had spoken to Ali the night before the fatal attack in Aden and found him in good spirits.
The four soldiers were among 12 members of the Saudi-led coalition killed in attacks claimed by an ISIL affiliate.
“Since our father died in a car accident a while ago, I see my younger brothers also as my sons after helping my mother raise them,” said Salem, who will return to duty in Yemen.
“I need to stand for my brothers who are there and fight in the memory of my brother and all the martyrs.”
After the funeral prayers, hundreds followed the body to the Mutuwa’a graveyard to pay their final respects.
“He wasn’t just a brother, he was a friend,” said Majid Al Ketbi, 34, who found it difficult to leave his brother’s burial site after most had left.
“I was the closest to him and I can tell you he was loved and respected by so many. He never did anyone wrong and always treated his mother and brothers right,” he said.
In Fujairah, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, performed the funeral prayer for Yousef Al Kaabi. Various royal family members and officials were among the crowd gathered at Madhab.
“Sheikh Mohammed Al Sharqi along with many officials, relatives and friends all prayed with us today for our beloved brother and martyr,” said Abdullah Al Kaabi, 31, one of Yousef’s brothers.
“Yousef is our source of pride and we are all ready to give our souls as a gift to the country and act like him.”
His body arrived at the Armed Forces Martyrs’ Mosque yesterday and he was buried in Fujairah cemetery.
Among those gathered for Al Ketbi’s funeral in Al Ain were 29 pupils from Al Ittihad National Private School, each carrying UAE flags.
Musabah Al Ketbi, Ali’s cousin, said many expatriates also came to pay their respects.
“The foreigners were coming to our house in tears for Ali, that’s how much he meant to people,” said Musabah, who also serves in the Armed Forces.
Ali was the youngest of six children – five brothers and one sister.
Since September 4, 60 UAE soldiers have died fighting as part of Operation Restoring Hope, in Yemen.
* Additional reporting by Ruba Haza
Published: October 8, 2015 04:00 AM