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US forces fired Patriot missiles during Houthi attack on UAE: White House

Biden directed his defense secretary to ‘do everything he can’ to communicate US support for the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

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US military forces deployed Patriot surface-to-air missiles at the ballistic missiles fired by the Houthis during the weekend attack on Abu Dhabi, a senior White House official said Monday.

The UAE said it had intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile launched by the Iran-backed Houthis before destroying the launching site in Yemen early Monday.

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Although no damages or injuries were reported, this was the third attack in the last two weeks.

“I can tell you… US military personnel responded to an inbound missile threat on the UAE. This involved the employment of Patriot interceptors [along with] efforts by the armed forces of the UAE,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a press conference.

She added: “I would say we are working quite closely with them… and we are very focused on working with them and defending against all threats to their peoples and territories.”

The latest attack by the Houthis, which US President Joe Biden removed the terror blacklist in one of his first foreign policy moves after taking office, coincided with the first-ever visit to the UAE by an Israeli president.

Before meeting Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Biden said the US was in “daily contact with the UAE” to address these threats. “I’ve directed Secretary Austin to do everything he can to communicate the support of the United States for the UAE, Saudi Arabia and throughout the Gulf region. America will have the backs of our friends in the region,” Biden said.

On January 17, the Houthis launched a deadly attack using cruise and ballistic missiles and drones to target Abu Dhabi. The strike led to a fire breaking out and the explosion of three petroleum tankers, killing three people and wounding six others.

That was followed by another attack against Abu Dhabi on January 24, but UAE authorities - with US forces - said they successfully intercepted the two Houthi ballistic missiles with no casualties.

The Houthis have threatened to keep targeting the UAE so long as it backs groups in Yemen fighting against the militia.

The UAE is part of the Arab Coalition led by Saudi Arabia, which intervened in Yemen in 2015 to restore the internationally recognized government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Read more: US warns against UAE travel; Emirati official says Houthi threats won’t be new normal

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