A possible drone attack may have sparked an explosion that struck three oil tankers in Abu Dhabi; the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and another fire at an extension of Abu Dhabi International Airport on Monday that killed three people and wounded six, police said.
Abu Dhabi police identified the dead as two Indian nationals and one Pakistani. It did not identify the wounded, who police said suffered minor or moderate wounds.
Police said an investigation was underway.
While Abu Dhabi police did not immediately offer any suspects for the possible assault, Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for an attack targeting the United Arab Emirates, without elaborating.
The Iranian-backed Houthis have claimed several attacks that Emirati officials later denied took place.
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The incident comes while Yemen’s yearslong war rages on and as an Emirati-flagged vessel found itself recently captured by the Houthis. That’s as Abu Dhabi largely has withdrawn its national forces from the conflict tearing apart the Arab world’s poorest nation while still supporting local militias there.
Abu Dhabi police said preliminary investigations indicated the detection of small flying objects, possibly belonging to drones; that fell in the two areas and may have caused the explosion and fire. They said there was no significant damage from the incidents, without offering further details.
Police described the airport fire as “minor” and said it took place at an extension of the international airport that is still under construction. For years, the airport home to Etihad Airways has been building its new Midfield Terminal; but it wasn’t clear if that was where the fire took place.
The airport and Etihad did not immediately respond to requests for comment; however there were a series of flights delayed Monday morning.
Police said the other blast struck three petroleum transport tankers near a storage facility for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. in the Musaffah area.
The neighborhood, 22 kilometers (13 miles) from the center of Abu Dhabi city; also has an oil pipeline network and 36 storage tanks, from which transport trucks carry fuel nationwide.