UN Security Council condemns 'terrorist' attacks on UAE by Yemen's Houthis

UN Security Council condemns 'terrorist' attacks on UAE by Yemen's Houthis
The council's Norwegian presidency also strongly condemned Friday's strikes on Houthi-held parts of Yemen that have left scores dead.
3 min read
The UAE has requested a special closed session of the Security Council [Getty]

The UN Security Council unanimously condemned the deadly attacks on Abu Dhabi by Yemen's Houthi rebels as "heinous terrorist attacks" and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

But, in a statement before a meeting Friday, the council's Norwegian presidency also strongly condemned the newest strikes in Yemen that have left scores dead.

"We are very concerned... It's not acceptable," Mona Juul, the Norwegian ambassador to the UN, said of the strikes, one of which hit a prison leaving more than 200 people killed or wounded.

Juul called for "de-escalation and restraint" in the conflict.

The declaration on the Houthis came after an apparent drone attack by the Iran-backed rebels near oil storage facilities in Abu Dhabi left two Indians and a Pakistani dead.

Police said "small flying objects" were found at both sites, pointing to a deliberate attack using drones - a hallmark of the Houthis.

Six civilians were injured in the attacks.

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"The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous terrorist attacks in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, 17 January, as well as in other sites in Saudi Arabia," the council said in a statement drafted by the United Arab Emirates.

"The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice."

'Proportionate' responses

The statement said the attacks were claimed by the Houthis, and took a strong stance by labelling them as "terrorist."

It was released ahead of a special closed session of the Security Council requested by the UAE, a non-permanent member of the council since 1 January.

The UAE has had a major role in the Saudi-led coalition defending the official government of Yemen against the Houthis in the more than six-year-old conflict.

Although it announced a troop withdrawal from Yemen in 2019, the UAE has remained involved by supporting and training forces there.

The attack Monday followed the Houthis' defeat in Yemen's Shabwa province to the UAE-trained Giants Brigade, which dealt a blow to their hopes of capturing the key city of Marib in the neighboring governorate.

Majid Al-Madhaji, a researcher at the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, said the Houthis had launched the Abu Dhabi attacks "to send this military message in the heart of the UAE."

Juul's comments ahead of the meeting referred to two attacks in Yemen on Friday, one on a telecommunications facility in the port town of Hodeida, where three children were killed, according to the Save the Children group.

Separately, a prison in Saada - the home city of the Houthi rebel movement - was struck, killing at least 70, according to Doctors Without Borders.

Speaking after the Security Council meeting, UAE Ambassador to the United Nations Lana Nusseibeh would not directly comment on Friday's air strikes when asked by reporters about them.

She said the coalition fighting Yemen's Houthi rebels is committed to "proportionate" responses to Houthi attacks.

"The coalition undertakes to abide by international law and proportionate response in all its military operations," she said.