UAE leaders welcome Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan home after Yemen injuries

The 27-year-old serviceman was injured in a helicopter crash in Yemen’s Shabwa province in August last year

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - February 19, 2018: HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces (R), greets HH Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan (C), during a Sea Palace barza. Seen with HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Defence (back L). 
( Ryan Carter for the Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi )
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Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan was was given a hero's welcome home on Monday as he was received by the country's rulers and leaders at Al Bahr Palace in Abu Dhabi.

The 27-year-old serviceman was injured in a helicopter crash in Yemen’s Shabwa province in August last year, where the UAE is leading efforts to combat Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Two other Emirati soldiers were also injured in the crash, while four were killed.

On Saturday, upon announcement of his return, the UAE's skyscrapers bore his image beneath messages of welcome and tribute. Two days later he was greeted by the country's rulers and leaders in person, who thanked him for his service.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, received on Monday Sheikh Zayed and other members of the UAE Armed Forces who were injured on August 11, 2017, and told them of their pride for all the heroes of the UAE.

Beaming, Sheikh Zayed sat in a wheelchair beside Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid who earlier kissed his forehead while the rest of the country's leaders, family, friends and other dignitaries stood in a line applauding his entry to the majlis.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed later took to Twitter to pay tribute to Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan and all the "heroes of the homeland" who he said are "the finest examples of giving and loyalty".

"The value of the sacrifices made by the nation's sons is reflected in their heroism and honorable attitudes, which is a source of pride for all of us," Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said.

"We are proud of the example they set and with them the UAE continues to rise."

On Monday, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the Federal National Council, also expressed her pride on the return of Sheikh Zayed to the UAE.

"Our brave soldiers remain steadfast to maintain the unity and safety of our beloved homeland, and ensure the security of our people, remaining loyal to the nation's leadership under President Sheikh Khalifa," she said.

Her statement follows those of the country's rulers who on Saturday shared messages of welcome for Sheikh Zayed on social media.

“The UAE, its people, and its leaders rejoice at the return of Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan to the homeland," Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid tweeted.

"The pride of the Emirates youth and the descendent of their glory. The namesake of its founder and the best of those who represent the bravery and manliness of its noble soldiers.”


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Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed also tweeted messages of support and pride.

“Every time the challenges become greater the sons of Zayed meet them," he said. "They are proud to heed the call of their country. The battlefields are witnesses to their sacrifice and Zayed bin Hamdan is one of the Emirates’ noble heroes.

"His comrades on the fields of honour are the best of the Emirati youth in effort and giving. We raise our heads with pride in them. There is no fear for a nation that has their like.”

In another tweet, the Crown Prince said: "We pray to God to protect our sons in service and to make them victorious, and that he grants the injured a quick recovery. We pray that our martyrs rest in peace and mercy.”

Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan is grandson of the country's Founding Father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan and was serving in the elite Presidential Guard when he was injured. He attended the prestigious Royal Military College of Sandhurst in the UK in 2009 before joining the UAE Armed Forces.