Houthi rebels purportedly fire Iranian cruise missile at nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Video release marks the second failed attempt by Iranian backed rebels to escalate and expand tensions to the Gulf States involved in the Yemen conflict.
Houthi rebels announced the firing of a cruise missile against the UAE yesterday - releasing supposed video footage of the launch against a UAE nuclear power facility. An accompanying statement by Houthi military spokesman Abdel Aziz Rasheed on Al Jazeera reiterated and confirmed the strike. However, UAE military officials have denied the launch or interception of the missile and no reports of its impact are available.
The launch marks the second attempt by the Houthi’s to fire a cruise missile against the allied gulf states lead by Saudi Arabia. The first attack targeted the Saudi capital Riyadh early in November, purportedly firing a Burkan 2-H missile; an unconfirmed Iranian designed Scud-type missile with a range of around 800km. The Saudi military claimed to have intercepted the warhead using surface-to-air Patriot missiles (which may have missed), which knocked out the target harmlessly near the Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport.
The targeted nuclear facility is currently under construction near Abu Dhabi and being built by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). UAE’s military, and in particular its Air Force, have been a key ally of the Saudi lead coalition against the Iranian backed Houthi’s - who currently control most of Yemen.
With the numerous conflicting reports, propaganda, denials, and counter-claims of the involved parties in the Yemen conflict, it’s decidedly difficult to get a solid grip of the realities on the ground. One side says it launched a missile, the other says it didn’t. One side says it intercepted a missile; the other claims it hit its target. One thing is highly likely, the Houthi’s are probably not capable of building missiles that can hit a city over 500 miles away on their own. The Iranian’s on the other hand, produce multiple missile systems and are well known to supply the Houthi’s with weapons. Even if these cruise and ballistic missile systems are primitive and outdated, they represent an increasingly alarming trend of militant extremist expanding their offensive firepower and escalating internal national conflicts into wider regional wars.