ABU DHABI // Emiratis and expatriates have taken to social media to express their grief over the death of the 45 servicemen in Yemen.
The hashtag #UAE45 began trending on Twitter on Saturday as users offered their condolences to the fallen heroes.
Afra Al Dhaheri, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi, said she was devastated when she heard the news on Friday morning.
“We are all heart-broken for our brothers who sacrificed their lives to protect the UAE,” Ms Al Dhaheri said.
“I don’t know any of the soldiers personally but I cried so much. I felt like a member of my family had passed away,” she said.
The founder of the Cloud9 pet hotel said she hoped the community could unite to support each other and the families of the soldiers.
“They are my brothers, every single one of them,” said Ms Al Dhaheri.
Noora Al Mulla, an Emirati who works in the aviation industry, said the fallen servicemen were her “brothers and fathers.”
“We are all one family,” Ms Al Mulla said.
She expressed her gratitude for the sacrifice the soldiers had made.
Another Emirati, Jaber Mohammed, suggested his compatriots should perform Haj this month in place of the fallen servicemen. This is known as Haj Al Badal.
Sultan Al Ameemi said: “Our love for our country has grown through their martyrdom, as has our readiness to answer the call of duty and come to the help of our brothers.”
Expatriates were also moved to comment on the tragedy.
Khalid Mullick, a business information analyst from Pakistan, said he was shocked at the news.
Mr Mullick has been living in this country for five years and said he had “special sentiments for UAE and its leaders”.
Fatima Docrat, the Canadian managing director of a software company who lives in Dubai, said: “My heart and prayers go out to the families and to the nation, the leaders and everyone living here. Hopefully we won’t see more of these tragedies unfolding.
“I hope the conflicts in the region will be resolved peacefully. All of us live here and enjoy the comfort and hospitality of the country and its people and leaders.”
Another Canadian expatriate, K Demchuk-Sinclair, a resident of Abu Dhabi, said the soldiers had died “fighting for freedom and for the protection of people”.
Sally Barnes, a resident of Abu Dhabi from the UK, also expressed her grief on Twitter.
“I’m very sad to hear the news of the soldiers that have be killed. My condolences to all family and friends. May they all rest in peace,” she said.