US vows to hold Houthis accountable after attacks on Abu Dhabi

Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed on Monday to condemn the attacks

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Washington on Monday condemned the attacks carried out by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis against the UAE, pledging to work with the Emirates and to hold the rebel group accountable.

In a statement, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan labelled the strike a “terrorist attack” and expressed support for the UAE.

“The United States strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, which killed three innocent civilians,” Mr Sullivan said.

The three people were killed when small flying objects, possibly related to drones, hit a number of fuel lorries and started a fire at Adnoc's petroleum storage unit in the ICAD industrial area of Mussaffah at about 10am. Six others suffered mild to moderate injuries.

“The Houthis have claimed responsibility for this attack and we will work with the UAE and international partners to hold them accountable,” Mr Sullivan said.

“Our commitment to the security of the UAE is unwavering and we stand beside our Emirati partners against all threats to their territory.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also condemned the attacks and expressed his condolences on a call with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, the state news agency Wam reported.

Sheikh Abdullah received phone calls from a number of foreign ministers over the course of the day expressing their condemnation for the attacks.

In a statement, UAE's minister of state and ambassador to Washington Yousef Al Otaiba welcomed US commitment and stressed urgency in the response. "Together, the UAE, US and international community must act with urgency to confront Houthi aggression," Ambassador Al Otaiba said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia's Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Bahrain's Abdullatif Al Zayani and Egypt's Sameh Shoukry were among the first foreign ministers to speak with Sheikh Abdullah and express their countries’ support and solidarity with the UAE.

In New York, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also denounced the attack.

“Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited by international humanitarian law,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said his country stood with the UAE after the attack. He wrote on Twitter: “I strongly condemn today’s drone attack in Abu Dhabi and send my condolences to the families of those killed and my wishes for a speedy recovery to those wounded. Israel stands with the United Arab Emirates.”

The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation and the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity denounced the Houthi militia for aiming at civilian sites in a “flagrant violation of international laws and norms".

Updated: January 18, 2022, 10:50 AM