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United Arab Emirates says it intercepted 2 ballistic missiles targeting Abu Dhabi

The United Arab Emirates defense ministry said it "intercepted and destroyed" two ballistic missiles early Monday that were targeting its capital, Abu Dhabi.

The ministry said the missiles were "fired by the terrorist Houthi group," and no one was injured or killed. The UAE is "ready to deal with any threats," the ministry added, "and it takes all necessary measures to protect the state from all attacks."

Since 2015, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have had control over most of Yemen. They are fighting a Saudi-led coalition that wants to restore the country's internationally recognized government. Last week, Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for a Jan. 17 drone attack near Abu Dhabi's airport, which left at least three people dead. This was the first deadly attack to take place in the UAE in several years. A spokesperson for the Houthis said the UAE "is an unsafe state as long as its aggressive escalation against Yemen continues." 

In retaliation for the Jan. 17 attack in the UAE, the Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes on Yemen's capital, Sanaa; at least 12 people were killed. The Houthis say the coalition also launched airstrikes against a telecommunications building and detention center, which left at least 82 people dead.

The war in Yemen has resulted in a humanitarian crisis in what was already one of the world's poorest countries. UNICEF says at least 10,000 children have been killed or maimed in the conflict, and millions are internally displaced and out of school. There is a shortage of medicine, clean water, and food, with nearly 2.3 million children under 5 experiencing acute malnutrition. In 2019, with the crisis well underway, the UAE privately determined the war in Yemen wasn't going to be won, CNN reports, and pulled most of its troops from the country. However, the UAE recently became more engaged in the conflict, and has been supporting Yemeni forces in the oil-rich provinces of Shabwa and Marib.