UAE mourns fallen servicemen

The men died when a rocket attack at dawn on Friday on an ammunition store for the 107th Brigade caused several explosions, resulting in the deaths of Emirati and Yemeni soldiers, according to Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash.

Flags fly at half-mast at Abu Dhabi Municipality as the UAE declares a three day mourning following the death of 45 Emirati soldiers in Yemen. Ravindranath K / The National
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ABU DHABI // Rulers of the emirates, officials and leaders from abroad on Saturday joined the nation in mourning and honouring the 45 heroes who fell in Yemen’s defence on Friday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, received condolences from Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and from the French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed, the President’s Representative, said: “The UAE takes pride in its martyrs. Their sacrifice towards freeing our Yemeni brothers from the militias who have wreaked havoc in their country is a noble cause that leaves Emiratis and Arabs alike proud.

“The martyrs died defending the Arab nation, Islam and the human principles and values underpinning our country.”

Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, called the fallen servicemen “swords in defending the right”.

“The martyrs were heroes when they bravely obeyed the call of duty, armed with a strong belief that they must achieve victory or die trying,” Dr Sheikh Sultan said.

The 45 servicemen embodied the UAE’s Arab and Islamic identity in defending and supporting values, principles and distressed people of the world, said Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Ruler of Fujairah, said: “We mourn our brave martyrs with pride and dignity. By their heroism they wrote a new chapter in the UAE book of glory.”

The soldiers had “written a new chapter in our nation’s glory as they bravely defended the dignity and fought to restore hope to our brothers in Yemen”, said Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Ruler of Umm Al Quwain.

And Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of Ajman, said: “Arab generations will remember those who were killed doing their national duty as loyal defenders of Arab dignity.”

He said the deaths would not weaken determination to restore stability in Yemen.

Officials around the world also offered their condolences.

“Jordan stands with the UAE in this calamity following the martyrdom of soldiers while performing their duty towards their fellow Yemenis,” said Mohammad Momani, a spokesman for the Jordanian government.

Nabil Elaraby, general secretary of the Arab League, reaffirmed his support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, condemned Friday’s attack and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

Secretary General of the GCC, Abdullatif Al Zayani, said his organisation was determined to restore stability in Yemen.

“Martyrdom of our gallant soldiers in Yemen will remain a symbol of sacrifice and dedication and theme for solidarity, and cooperation with Arab people in Yemen,” Mr Al Zayani said.

Sheikh Talib Al Shehhi, a director at the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, called on members of the community to unify in their sorrow and stand by the families of the deceased.