A loud explosion that struck a building in the centre of Abu Dhabi last night was caused by a gas container erupting, the state news agency WAM reported, after initial fears were raised that it was another missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi-aligned military.
Footage emerged on social media capturing the explosion and a high-rise building on fire with other videos showing emergency services arriving at the scene.
According to the news agency, the Abu Dhabi Civil Defence Authority received a report that a fire broke out at 00:09 local time at a building on Hamdan Street. The fire was extinguished and residents were safely vacated with no injuries or casualties reported as a result of the fire.
Local reports also state that the explosion occurred 20 kilometres from the hotel where the Brazilian football club Palmerias are staying as they compete as the UAE hosts the FIFA Club World Cup.
Earlier, the US embassy had issued a warning of “reports of a possible missile or drone strike”, with an embassy spokesperson telling Reuters the warning was issued amid recent security incidents.
Although the Houthis hadn’t claimed responsibility for an attack yesterday, they have claimed three attacks on the UAE since the start of the year involving drones, cruise and ballistic missiles, the first of which killed three foreign workers. The UAE intercepted the other attacks, the most recent taking place early last week during a historic first visit by an Israeli president. Also last week the UAE says it intercepted a drone attack by an obscure Iraqi militia with alleged links to pro-Iran factions in Iraq.