The UAE denied reports that the arrival of US military aircraft to the al-Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi was linked to the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas.
In a statement issued on Friday, the UAE Ministry of Defense said “these allegations are baseless.”
The defense ministry said military aircraft from the US have been arriving in the Gulf state in keeping with “pre-determined timetables within the framework of the military cooperation between the UAE and the United States of America.”
The arrival of the aircraft “is not at all related to the developments currently taking place in the region,” the statement added.
The UAE Ministry of Defence denies the allegations circulated by some international media about the arrival of U.S. military aircraft at Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE to provide support to Israel.— وزارة الدفاع |MOD UAE (@modgovae) October 12, 2023
The Ministry confirmed that these allegations are baseless, as arrivals of U.S.… pic.twitter.com/XcBLdaf4IR
The two countries have a long-standing military partnership. The UAE Air Force operates US-made F-16 jets and has been supplied with advanced defense systems for years.
The al-Dhafra Air Base is home to some of the 5,000 US military personnel based in the UAE, according to reports.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the deployment of an aircraft-carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean and the augmentation of fighter jets. The USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean to deter any actor seeking to escalate the situation or widen the Gaza-Israel war, the US Central Command said on Tuesday.
The latest Middle East situation has alarmed world leaders, many of whom are scrambling to restore peace to the historically volatile region.
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Israel on Thursday, is also expected to visit Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Egypt. Speaking in Israel, Blinken said he would also visit Jordan to meet King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and the presidents of the European Commission and Parliament, Ursula von der Leyen and Roberta Metsola, are among the diplomats scheduled to visit Israel soon.
Nearly a week after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an all-out strike on Israel and with at least 100 Israelis still held hostage, Tel Aviv has sought evacuation of more than a million residents from the Gaza Strip.
Israel is expected to invade the densely populated strip of land as it amasses tanks near its borders.
More than 1,500 Gaza residents have been killed in explosions and gunfights so far, while over 1,300 lives were claimed on the Israeli side. Thousands are injured, and tens of thousands displaced as a result of the conflict that started in the wee hours of Saturday when Hamas militants stormed towns and communities in southern Israel under the cover of a barrage of rocket fire, in the deadliest attack on the country in decades.
Israel retaliated by carrying out intense air strikes on the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas.