Updates throughout with Houthi statement, UAE reponse
Houthi militants in Yemen said they carried out an attack today on a UAE oil facility in which three people died. The UAE government said it could respond, raising the risk profile in the region.
The militant group said it fired five missiles and a "large number of drones". UAE state-owned Adnoc confirmed three people died and six were injured in an incident earlier today, which the state-owned Wam news agency said happened at an oil storage centre.
The Houthi group said it "will not hesitate to expand" strikes and said people should "stay away from vital sites and facilities for their own safety".
The UAE foreign ministry described the attacks as "a heinous crime", and said "the UAE reserves the right to respond".
The incident happened while Abu Dhabi is hosting its flagship annual renewable energy event, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
This could represent an escalation of tension in the region. The Houthis hijacked a UAE-flagged cargo ship earlier this month as it sailed through the Bab al-Mandeb strait between Yemen and Djibouti. The strait connects the Arabian Sea with the Red Sea and serves as a strategic waterway for Mideast Gulf oil and gas shipments to Europe.
In September, Saudi Arabia said it intercepted a ballistic missile and several armed drones fired by the Houthis at the country's oil-rich eastern province. The Iran-aligned Houthi group, which has been fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen since 2015, said it had fired the missiles, targeting state-controlled Saudi Aramco facilities in Ras Tanura, close to Dammam, as well as in Jizan and Najran provinces.
Saudi Arabia and its allies, chiefly the UAE, intervened in Yemen in 2015 following the Houthi movement's 2014 ousting of the country's Saudi-backed president Mansour Abd Rabbo Hadi. The UAE has largely withdrawn from the conflict, pursuing its own agenda in southern Yemen through proxy forces.
By Adal Mirza, Ruxandra Iordache, Nader Itayim and Ben Winkley