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UAE grounds most private drones, light sports aircraft after Yemen's retaliatory attacks

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)
An Emirati stands near a General Atomics Predator XP drone on display at a drone conference in Abu Dhabi. (Photo by AP)

The United Arab Emirates has grounded most private drones and light sports aircraft for a month after a daring retaliatory attack by Yemeni army, which struck several targets deep inside the Emirati soil using drones and ballistic missiles.

"MOI (Ministry of Interior) is currently stopping all flying operations for owners, practitioners, and enthusiasts of drones, including drones and light sports aircrafts," the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

While the Interior Ministry did not refer directly to the Yemeni's army attack in imposing the ban, it claimed that the decision came after finding "misuse of permits granted to those who practice these sports."

The report came less than a week after Yemen’s army and allied forces from the Popular Committees staged their latest retaliatory strikes against Abu Dhabi and parts of Saudi Arabia.

Abu Dhabi police, in a statement published on the official Emirates news agency, WAM, said three fuel tanker trucks exploded in the industrial Musaffah area, near storage facilities of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and that a fire also broke out at a construction site at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Saudi Arabia also said that the Yemeni forces had targeted the kingdom with “nine drones.”

The strikes came in response to the UAE's involvement in a Saudi-led war on Yemen that has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis while unsuccessfully trying to return the impoverished country's former Riyadh-backed officials to power.

Commenting on the retaliation on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal wrote that the counteroffensive had shown how the Yemeni forces had become emboldened in striking members of the Saudi-led coalition after emerging stronger from years of Saudi war.

The paper also reminded that the Yemeni forces “have hit the UAE before, but this was the first time the Emiratis acknowledged it.”

Describing the Monday counteroffensive in further detail, The Journal cited a preliminary Emirati investigation as saying that the counterblow also involved “cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.”

Now, the Yemeni defense forces could hit targets lying “1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away from their mountain strongholds,” the report added.

Also on Monday, Yemen's Houthi Ansarullah resistance movement warned Abu Dhabi that it should brace for more stinging retaliatory strikes from Yemeni armed forces and their allies if Abu Dhabi did not end its involvement in the atrocious military aggression against the conflict-stricken Arab country.

“The UAE should expect more painful attacks if it does not stop attacking Yemen,” Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a member of Ansarullah's Political Bureau, told Qatar's Al Jazeera television news network.

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