UAE denies nuclear plant targeted by Houthis

DUBAI • Yemen's Houthi rebels have said they fired a ballistic missile at a nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi, targeting a second member of the Arab coalition battling them.

The United Arab Emirates' state-run WAM news agency said the claim, reported by the Houthi-affiliated al-Masirah TV, was untrue.

"The missile force announces the launching of a winged cruise missile... towards the al-Barakah nuclear reactor in Abu Dhabi," the Houthi group's television service reported on its website yesterday. It gave no further details.

The Barakah project, which is being built by Korea Electric Power Corporation, is expected to be completed and become operational next year, the UAE has said.

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, meanwhile, sought to dampen fears that Abu Dhabi was vulnerable to attack, saying the UAE "has an air defence system capable of dealing with any threat".

The conflicting reports come just weeks after the Iranian-backed Houthis launched a missile at Saudi Arabia's international airport in Riyadh.

That attack, foiled by Saudi air defences, upped the stakes in a showdown between the oil-rich kingdom and Iran. Saudi Arabia also intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen last week, which it said was a threat to regional and international security.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have been mired in a conflict in Yemen since 2015, backing an internationally recognised government against the Houthis who they say are armed and backed by Iran.

Despite a devastating air campaign that has killed hundreds of civilians, the Houthis still control the capital, Sana'a, and territories in the north.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2017, with the headline 'UAE denies nuclear plant targeted by Houthis'. Print Edition | Subscribe