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Yemen: UAE-backed forces targeted in ‘Houthi missile strike’ on Ataq airport

December 29, 2021 at 4:17 pm

Airport in Yemen on 3 January 2021 [SALEH OBAIDI/AFP via Getty Images]

Several missiles were launched against Yemen’s Ataq airport in the Shabwa province yesterday evening, targeting UAE-backed militia.

Local sources have attributed the attack involving two ballistic missiles to the joint Houthi-army forces hours after the arrival of the UAE-backed Giants Brigades on Monday, following the withdrawal of Saudi forces who handed over the site to them.

The Yemen Press Agency, citing eyewitnesses, reported that the explosions targeted the Saudi-led coalition’s operations building at the airport, after three armoured vehicles carrying Emirati reinforcements entered the vicinity. The attack reportedly left “dozens” dead and wounded; however, the media spokesperson for the Giants Brigades, Aseel Al-Saqladi, denied there were any casualties.

READ: Attacks by Yemen’s Houthis on Saudi Arabia doubled this year, says report

The oil-rich southern province had been a focal point of clashes between militia affiliated with the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council and forces belonging to the Saudi-backed Islah party, who took control of Shabwa in August 2019.

Footage has circulated on social media of the attack’s aftermath, in addition to footage of residents in Shabwa welcoming the arrival of the Giants Brigades.  The arrival of the elite militia comes after President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi dismissed the Islah-affiliated governor Muhammad bin Adyo, replacing him instead with the STC-aligned Awad Al-Awlaki, in accordance with the power sharing Riyadh Agreement signed in 2019.

The Ministry of Transport of the internationally-recognised Yemeni government condemned the attack, describing it as a “cowardly terrorist attack”.

READ: Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s STC discuss collaboration against Houthis