The United States has advised its citizens not to travel to the United Arab Emirates over the threat of retaliatory missile and drone attacks from Yemen, as Yemeni officials warn of greater counterstrikes against targets deep inside the UAE.
In a notice released on Thursday, the US State Department retained its highest level travel warning for the UAE due to the spread of COVID-19 in the Arab country, but also updated it to warn of the threat of more attacks from Yemeni forces.
“Reconsider travel due to the threat of missile or drone attacks,” the notice said. “The possibility of attacks affecting US citizens and interests in the [Persian] Gulf and Arabian Peninsula remains an ongoing, serious concern.”
In recent weeks, Yemen has conducted several rounds of drone and missile counterstrikes against the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as the countries ramped up their aggression against the Yemeni people.
On January 17, the Yemeni armed forces launched drone attacks targeting an oil facility in Abu Dhabi, warning the UAE of severe repercussions should it maintain its acts of sabotage in Yemen.
A week later, the Yemeni forces launched massive missile and drone strikes against sensitive targets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, as well as Saudi Arabia’s Najran, Jizan, and Asir regions.
‘Terrifying strikes await Saudis, Emiratis’
Yemen’s Defense Minister Mohammad al-Atefi said on Thursday that the drone and missile raids against the two invading countries are “punitive strikes” and “warning messages” against the military coalition countries, Yemen’s al-Masirah news network reported.
“We can and we have all legitimate and powerful capabilities to target you,” Major General al-Atefi said in a statement, adding that “the coming period will witness terrifying strikes in the military and economic strategic sites in the Saudi and UAE depth.”
He said the aggressive countries demonstrate their defeats on the battlefield by targeting residential neighborhoods and directing their deliberate strikes against civilians, killing children and women.
“What you failed to achieve in seven years, will not be achieved now or in the future so if you continue your aggression, your end will be shameful,” he said, addressing the invading countries.
Al-Atefi also said if the US-Saudi war coalition continues to escalate, the Yemeni people and their armed forces are ready to escalate as well, adding that “Today, Yemeni Armed Forces are more than ever able to face the worst possibilities, defend Yemen, its independence and unity.”
The comments come against the background of repeated warnings from Yemen against the UAE over increasing its role in the war on Yemen.
The Yemeni army has urged foreign companies to leave the UAE and warned that the Dubai Expo might be targeted next if the Emiratis continue their aggression against Yemen.
Yemeni attacks kill Saudi mercenaries in Ma’rib
Meanwhile, the Yemeni army has intensified its attacks against Saudi-backed mercenaries inside Yemen as well.
Yemen’s official Saba news agency reported on Friday that at least five people were killed and 34 injured in an attack on Ma’rib city on Wednesday night.
A resident and a medical source said a missile on Wednesday had fallen next to a military building in the al-Matar area.
Ma’rib city is the former Saudi-backed Yemeni government’s last northern stronghold. It sits in an energy-producing region which has been the focus of fighting over the past year, during which the Yemeni armed forces advanced towards the city.
The intensification of Saudi-Emirati attacks on Yemen is widely attributed to the Ansarullah-run government’s advances towards Ma’rib.
According to Yemeni officials, since the beginning of January, attacks by the Saudi-led coalition waging war on Yemen have claimed the lives of at least 150 people.
More than 100 people were killed and over 260 others wounded last week when the US-backed and Saudi-led war coalition launched an airstrike against a detention center in Yemen’s northwestern city of Sa’ada.