SANAA -- Arab coalition air strikes on the Houthi-held Yemeni city of Sanaa killed 11 people late Monday (January 17) after the Iran-backed group launched a rare and deadly attack on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier in the day.
The strikes targeted "Houthi camps and headquarters" in Sanaa, according to Saudi Arabia's state-owned Al-Ekhbariya TV.
They reportedly hit two houses in Sanaa, leaving them in ruins.
The UAE is a key member of the Saudi-led Arab coalition, which is battling the Houthis in Yemen in support of the country's legitimate government.
The Houthis claimed the Monday attacks on Abu Dhabi, saying they had fired ballistic missiles and deployed armed drones as a "warning message", and cautioning civilians and foreign firms in the UAE to avoid "vital installations".
Two Indians and a Pakistani working for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in Msaffah neighbourhood, died as three petrol tanks exploded near a storage facility, while a fire also ignited in a construction area at Abu Dhabi airport.
Six others were wounded.
Emirati police said "small flying objects, possibly belonging to drones" were found at both sites.
The Houthis have repeatedly carried out cross-border drone attacks against Saudi Arabia, but this is the first deadly assault acknowledged by the UAE inside its borders and claimed by the Houthis.
The escalation follows a surge in fighting in Yemen, including advances by UAE-trained troops in Shabwa province.
The Houthis have previously threatened to target Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Alwiyat al-Waad al-Haq, a little known Iraqi militia that is believed to be a front for Iran-backed Kataib Hizbullah, in January 2021 threatened to attack the UAE, after claiming a foiled attack on Saudi Arabia's al-Yamamah Palace.
The group posted doctored images of the monumental Burj Khalifa skyscraper in the UAE being struck by drones -- an image aimed to be reminiscent of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
In the aftermath of the Houthis' Monday attack, Alwiyat al-Waad al-Haq put out a statement after being dormant for a year, saying this is only the beginning, Washington Institute fellow and Militia Spotlight co-founder Hamdi Malik said.
Similar statements followed from Kataib Hizbullah's Abu Ali al-Askari and Asaib Ahl al-Haq's Qais al-Khazaali, who warned the Emiratis of "the consequences of interfering in internal Iraqi affairs", he said in a thread on Twitter.
While a US official said Iran is not suspected of a direct role in the attack, a Gulf official noted the Houthis do not attack other countries "without either the permission of Iran or the instruction from Iran", the Wall Street Journal reported.
The UAE's foreign ministry on Monday described the Houthis' attack on Abu Dhabi as a "heinous criminal escalation".
"We condemn the Houthi terrorist militia's targeting of civilian areas and facilities on UAE soil today... this sinful targeting will not go unpunished," UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said in a statement.
The United States vowed to hold the Houthis "accountable", while Britain, France and Gulf powers all likewise strongly condemned the attacks in the UAE.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan pledged that Washington will "work with the UAE and international partners to hold" the Houthis accountable.
"Our commitment to the security of the UAE is unwavering, and we stand beside our Emirati partners against all threats to their territory," he said.
The State Department echoed the condemnation, with spokesman Ned Price expressing condolences "to the families of these victims and to the people of the UAE".
Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke later Monday with the Emirati foreign minister, Price said in a second statement.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the Houthis' move threatened the security of both the UAE and the wider region.
Le Drian reiterated his call for the Houthis to "immediately cease their destabilising actions in Yemen and in the region and to engage constructively in a political process for exiting the crisis".
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she condemned "in the strongest terms" the Houthis' "terrorist attacks" -- terminology also used in condemnations by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC).
Israel also said it stood with the UAE.
The incident comes two weeks after the Houthis hijacked the UAE-flagged Rwabee and released footage purporting to show military equipment on board.
The UAE said the Rwabee, whose 11 international crew are now hostages, was a "civilian cargo vessel" and called the hijacking a "dangerous escalation" in the busy Red Sea shipping route.
It branded the hijacking as an act of piracy that threatens freedom of navigation and international trade in the south Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb strait.
The Houthis later rejected a United Nations Security Council demand for the ship's immediate release.
Separately, the pro-government Giants Brigade troops, backed by the Saudis and the UAE, recently delivered a significant blow to the Houthis by recapturing three districts in Shabwa province.
The clashes were part of a recent upswing in violence in Yemen.