JERUSALEM, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Israel has offered security and intelligence support to the United Arab Emirates against further drone attacks after a deadly strike by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group, according to a letter released on Tuesday by Israel’s leader.
Three people were killed and six wounded on Monday when three tanker trucks exploded in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital. A Houthi military spokesman said the group fired “a large number” of drones and five ballistic missiles in the attack.
On Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett condemned what he described as a “terrorist drone attack”.
His spokesman attached a copy of a condolence letter he sent on Monday to the UAE’s de facto leader, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
“We stand ready to offer you security and intelligence support in order to help you protect your citizens from similar attacks,” Bennett wrote. “I have ordered the Israeli security establishment to provide their counterparts in the UAE with any assistance, should you be interested.”
The UAE, along with Bahrain, signed U.S.-brokered normalisation agreements with Israel at the White House in 2020. The two Gulf nations and Israel share common concerns about Iran and its allied forces in the region.
“Israel is committed to working closely with you in the ongoing battle against extremist forces in the region, and we will continue to partner with you to defeat our common enemies,” Bennett said in his message to Sheikh Mohammed.
Bennett and Sheikh Mohammed held talks in Abu Dhabi in December last year, the first ever public meeting between the two men.
Long-Range Missile Defense
In a related development , Israel said Tuesday it has successfully tested a system designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside the earth’s atmosphere.
The Arrow Weapon System is part of an array of missile defenses Israel has developed in recent years to protect itself in any future conflict with archenemy Iran or regional militant groups, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah or the Palestinian Hamas in the Gaza Strip, both allies of Iran.
The Defense Ministry said the system detected the target and fired two Arrow 3 interceptors at it, calling the mission a success.
“With every step forward, with every development, we equip the state of Israel with the capabilities to defend itself against developing threats,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement. “Our systems provide Israel with the freedom to maneuver strategically.”
The system was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, a state-run defense firm, in cooperation with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.