DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels early Monday as the Israeli president visited the country, authorities said, the third-such attack in recent weeks.
The missile fire further escalates tensions across the Persian Gulf, which previously had seen a series of assaults near — but never indisputably on — Emirati soil. It comes during Yemen’s yearslong war and the collapse of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
The UAE’s state-run WAM news agency reported the interception, saying that “the attack did not result in any losses, as the remnants of the ballistic missile fell outside the populated areas.”
It wasn’t immediately clear where the missile remnants fell. The country’s civilian air traffic control agency said there was no immediate effect on air travel in the UAE, home to the long-haul carriers Emirates and Etihad.
Already, the country’s top prosecutor has threatened that people who film or post images of such an incident would face criminal charges in the UAE, an autocratic federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula. That makes reporting on such incidents even more complicated for journalists.
Houthi military spokesman Yehia Sarei wrote on Twitter that the rebels would make an announcement about an attack in the coming hours that reached into “the depths of the UAE.” He did not elaborate and there was nothing immediately reported on the Houthis’ Al-Masirah satellite news channel.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog is in the country on a state visit. The ceremonial leader met Sunday with Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Herzog’s office later told The Associated Press that the trip was “expected to continue as planned” when asked about the missile interception. It did not elaborate. Herzog was scheduled to visit Dubai’s Expo 2020 world’s fair Monday, which the Houthis had previously threatened to target.
Last week, a similar attack saw both Emirati and U.S. forces fire interceptor missiles to bring down down a Houthi attack. The week before that saw a Houthi drone-and-missile attack strike an Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. fuel depot, killing three people and wounding six others.
Associated Press writer Isabel Debre in Dubai contributed to this report.
Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.
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