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Investigating Houthi Claims of Drone Attacks on UAE Airports

By Khalil Dewan

Houthi drone propaganda was on the increase hours after announcing the attack, and graphics were shared to support the group’s attack claims, yet they still do not support or verify whether an attack actually occurred.

Claims of Dubai Airport Attack

On August 27, the Houthis claimed they had attacked Dubai International Airport (DBX) in the UAE with a Sammad-3 drone. Dubai is some 1,200 kilometres away from Yemen and has the third busiest airport in the world, according to Airports Council International.

The Houthi-run Al-Masirah news site wrote about the alleged strike, while the armed group’s official Telegram and other open source platforms publicised that an “air strike on Dubai International Airport confirms that all areas of the UAE are in the range of strikes.” Adding to this, the Houthis claimed that “a blow” was achieved by interrupting airport activity for some time. A “blow” could insinuate a strike or DBIED attack, but there is no evidence again of a post-strike/attack scene or drone recovery from the alleged mission.

The following screen grab was shared on Houthi official and pro-Houthi open source platforms, claiming that disruption to flights in Dubai occurred as a result of the attack:

Any news suggesting a Houthi “drone strike” or “ballistic missile” attack should not be downplayed by any of the parties involved in the conflict in Yemen. The last two years have seen the rise of the Houthi’s asymmetric capabilities, especially against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Houthi sources, however, should not be used exclusively as evidence when investigating claims of drone attacks.

The asymmetric warfare strategy of using ballistic missiles and drones was announced by Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, leader of the Houthi group, last year. The group is facing off with the Saudi-led coalition which began its military campaign in Yemen back in March 2015. An official document was shared on social media, including open source platforms, to warn the coalition of its air strike campaign. The document warned international companies operating in the region to take necessary precautions.

Drone Capability

Open source investigation on the Houthi group’s official Telegram channel surfaces one claimed attack on Abu Dhabi Airport and six on internal fronts in Yemen such as Mockha, Marib and Al-Baydah. Ten other drone attacks were claimed to have been executed in the west coast against Yemen forces battling for Hodeidah governorate.

Here is the alleged Houthi drone strike data and information on active capability published on the Houthi Telegram channel on July 26, 2018:

Since July 26, the Houthis have claimed they have executed 21 drone related attacks and incursions. The Houthis claim to possess five different drone models according to the infographic disseminated on their official Telegram channel — if real, all should be capable of posing asymmetric security threats.

The Houthi group claim they possess the Hudhuh-1, Qasef-1, Raqeeb, Rased, and the Sammad drone which comes in three different configurations. According to the Conflict Armament Research (CAR), the Qasef-1 drone is …read more

From:: Bellingcat

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