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UAE has not ended Yemen attacks: Emirati foreign minister

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A handout image released by Emirati WAM news agency on November 7, 2015 shows Emiratis welcoming a UAE military convoy returning from Yemen. (Via AFP)

A senior Emirati official has withdrawn his earlier comments that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had ended its combat operations in Yemen, saying his country is still “at war.”

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, who had been quoted on Wednesday as saying that “war is over” for Emirati soldiers in Yemen, said on Friday that his comment had been taken “out of context.”

“We are at war. I am appalled that my statement was taken out of context and misinterpreted for (an) external agenda that seeks to undermine the region,” Gargash said, state-run WAM news agency reported.

A handout image made available by the Emirati WAM news agency on September 5, 2015 shows Emirati armed forces carrying the bodies of comrades killed the previous day in Yemen. (Via AFP)

The UAE, which has been fighting as part of a Saudi war on Yemen, has suffered heavy casualties against Houthi fighters and allied military units. 

On Monday, an Emirati military helicopter crashed near the al-Buraiqeh coast of the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, killing its two pilots.

Two Emirati pilots died in March when their Mirage fighter jet crashed due to a technical fault while conducting military operations in the same district.

Last September, the UAE confirmed that at least 52 of its soldiers were killed when Houthi fighters fired a barrage of missiles at foreign troopers in Ma’rib Province. At least 70 soldiers were also injured in the missile attack.

There have already been reports of disagreements between Saudi Arabia and the UAE over operations in Yemen and that Jordanian forces would replace the Emiratis in the country. 

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression in March 2015 in a bid to bring former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crush a Houthi movement in Yemen.

More than 9,400 people have been killed and at least 16,000 others injured since the onset of the aggression.

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