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Houthis claim long-range cruise missile attack on UAE

The Quds ground-launched cruise missile was unveiled on 7 July 2019. (Ansar Allah)

The Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah (Houthis) implied a significant increase in the range of its Quds cruise missile when it claimed the type was used to attack Abu Dhabi on 17 January.

Yahya Saree, the group's spokesman, announced on the following day that four Quds-2 cruise missiles were launched against Abu Dhabi's Musaffah oil refinery and airport, a Zulfiqar ballistic missile had targeted Dubai airport, and Samad-3 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were used against unidentified “sensitive and important” targets.

He warned that the group was prepared to launch more attacks against a wider range of targets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in response to the escalating fighting in Yemen.

The UAE confirmed the attack took place but did not provide details of what weapons had been used and if any had been intercepted by its air defences.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) said a fire broke out at around 1000 h at its Mussafah Fuel Depot on the south side of Abu Dhabi city killing three of its workers and injuring another six. Abu Dhabi's police confirmed there was also a minor fire at a construction area at the airport.

Ansar Allah unveiled the Quds cruise missile in July 2019 and it was confirmed to be of Iranian origin after several were used against Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities on 14 September 2019. While Ansar Allah claimed credit, the weapons were launched from an unidentified location north of the kingdom, not Yemen. The US Navy's recovery of a complete missile from an arms-smuggling ship later that year enabled the UN panel of experts on Yemen to estimate its range at about 800 km.

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