UAE jets strike Houthi ballistic missile launcher

The UAE moved to strike a purported ballistic missile launcher operated by Houthi militia in Yemen’s Al Jawf on January 24, hours after the UAE’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced the interception of two missiles targeting the Gulf country.

In a statement on social media, the UAE MOD’s Joint Operations Command announced that at 0410hrs Yemen local time an F F-16E/F Block 60 Desert Falcon multi-role fighter operated by the UAE Air Force and Air Defence (UAEAF&AD) destroyed the missile launcher, which it claimed had launched ballistic missiles towards Abu Dhabi.

UAE strikes alleged Houthi ballistic missile launcher
A screen grab from the video shows the moments before the alleged Houthi Ballistic missile launcher site was hit by the UAE airstrike. UAE MOD

A grainy video of the strike on the launcher was also released by the UAE’s MOD, showing the moment of impact and resultant fireball, stating that the attempted attack on Abu Dhabi had been intercepted by unnamed air defence systems.

The UAE’s air defence capability is provided by the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system, which is able to intercept short, medium, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

The attempting strike on Abu Dhabi and subsequent retaliation comes one week after the Houthi’s launched a January 17 drone strike against the emirate, hitting the international airport and nearby industrial sites, resulting in three fatalities. In a January 21 statement the UN Security Council “condemned” the “heinous terrorist attacks” on Abu Dhabi on January 17, which were “committed and claimed by the Houthis”.

The Iranian-backed Houthi movement, also known as Ansar Allah, has waged a years-long campaign to control Yemen, with the resultant civil war resulting in the deaths of more than 350,000 people.

Aided by Tehran, and in particular the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a unique military and political organisation, the Houthi’s have been able to carry out a range of drone and missile strikes against civilian and military targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE in recent years. Much of the Houthi’s military capability is of Iranian origin, including its ballistic missile capability and long-range drone platforms.

A Saudi-led force, supported by the fellow Gulf Cooperation Council members the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, has waged an air campaign over Yemen since 2015.

To read more on the proliferation of Iranian technology in the Gulf region, visit the link below.