US to deploy fighter jets to assist UAE after Yemen attacks
Washington, Feb 02: The United States on Wednesday said it would send a guided-missile destroyer and fighter jets to assist the United Arab Emirates after a series of missile attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels.
US Secretary of State Lloyd Austin told Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in a telephone call that Washington was sending the "USS Cole to partner with the UAE Navy before making a port call in Abu Dhabi," the US embassy in UAE said in a statement.
Austin also informed the Crown Prince of his decision to deploy fifth-generation fighter planes "to assist the UAE against the current threat."
The deployment was intended to be a "clear signal that the United States stands with the UAE as a long-standing strategic partner," the statement concluded.
Attacks during Israeli president's visit
On Monday, the UAE said it had intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen by the Iran-aligned Houthis, during Israeli President Isaac Herzog's visit to the Gulf nation.
This was the third missile attack in two weeks against the UAE, the Middle East's commercial and tourism hub.
Earlier in January, a drone attack caused three oil tankers to explode in Abu Dhabi, killing three people and injuring six others. The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack.
The UAE then carried out a series of retaliatory airstrikes in Yemen.
UAE: New front in Yemen war
The recent attacks have opened a new front in Yemen's seven-year war.
Since 2015, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition, of which the UAE is a key member, has been fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
The war has left thousands of people dead, displaced millions of others, and led to severe shortages of food and other essential goods in Yemen.
The Houthi movement controls most of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.
They began attacking UAE interests after a series of defeats on the ground in Yemen, inflicted by the UAE-trained Giants Brigades militia.
Last month, Houthis seized an Emirati-flagged vessel that they claimed was a "military cargo ship." The Saudi-led coalition claimed that the ship was carrying medical supplies.