Gas blast in Abu Dhabi raises jitters after attacks

Gas blast in Abu Dhabi raises jitters after attacks
Residents of Abu Dhabi feared that another missile had struck after an explosion in the downtown area, but was in the end identified as a gas explosion.
2 min read
09 February, 2022
Abu Dhabi has been hit by Houthi missile and drone strikes [Getty]

A gas explosion in downtown Abu Dhabi prompted a warning of a possible attack early on Wednesday following a series of drone and missile assaults by Yemeni rebels.

The US embassy issued a security alert after the blast in a building on Hamdan Street just after midnight sent a fireball into the sky and set off a blaze.

But emergency teams in the United Arab Emirates capital "put out a fire caused by a gas cylinder explosion", the official WAM news agency said.

"The teams managed to control the situation after extinguishing the fire and safely vacating the residents," it said.

The report also urged the public to "follow the news from the UAE's official authorities and to avoid spreading rumours and false information".

Unverified footage posted on social media showed an explosion at the top of a building and emergency services arriving in the busy street below as bystanders watched.

The US embassy in Abu Dhabi warned that "there are reports of a possible missile or drone strike having occurred" over the city after the accident.

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The gas explosion followed a victory by Brazil's Palmeiras, who are accompanied by many of their fans, in the Club World Cup football tournament taking place in Abu Dhabi this week.

The UAE has been on alert since a drone and missile attack killed three oil workers in Abu Dhabi on 17 January. 

Authorities have since thwarted three similar attacks.

The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen's civil war, which has killed hundreds of thousands directly or indirectly and displaced millions, sparking a humanitarian catastrophe.

The 17 January attack was the first deadly assault on the UAE claimed by the Houthis, opening a new phase in the seven-year war and puncturing the country's image as a regional safe haven.