Report: Deadly Drone Attack At Abu Dhabi Airport

Report: Deadly Drone Attack At Abu Dhabi Airport

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While details are still emerging, there was a deadly explosion at Abu Dhabi Airport today, which Yemen’s Houthi rebels are claiming responsibility for.

Three dead after Abu Dhabi explosion & fire

Three oil tankers exploded today at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), killing at least three people and wounding at least six people. The three dead have been identified as two Indian nationals and one Pakistani national, while there are no further details about those who have been injured — my thoughts are with all of the victims and their families.

Authorities are now investigating the incident, and while they haven’t offered any suspects, Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack. In fairness, they’ve claimed responsibility for some attacks in the past that Emirati officials claim never took place.

Officials in Abu Dhabi state that a preliminary investigation indicated that there were small flying objects (believed to be drones) that fell in the areas that caused the explosion and fire. Police have described the fire as “minor,” and also claim that there’s “no significant damage” from the incident.

The incident is said to have taken place near the extension of the international airport, so it sounds to me like this might have been near the new Midfield Terminal, which has been under construction for years (and it’s anyone’s guess if or when it actually opens). If there’s any silver lining, at least this didn’t happen near the active airport terminal, where the death count could have been much higher.

While some flights were initially delayed following the incident, the airport is once again accepting arrivals and departures as usual, so it doesn’t look like there will be any long-term impacts on operations from this. Below are some videos of the incident.

https://twitter.com/AryJaey/status/1483023134945165319

Bottom line

There was a fire and explosion at Abu Dhabi Airport today, tragically leading to three deaths and six injuries. Initial reports suggest that oil tankers were targeted, and that it may have been a drone attack. Yemen’s Houthi rebels are taking credit for the attack, though it remains to be seen if that’s verified.

The UAE has a tendency to not be terribly transparent and to downplay events like this, so I’m curious to see if we ever fully learn what happens. For example, authorities are describing the fire as “minor.” While I’m no fire expert, the video footage makes the fire look pretty significant…

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  1. M F Guest

    I witnessed an attack like this on Abu Dhabi Airport (which was claimed by the same group - you can find reports on al jazeera) in july 2018. I was arrested for 24hrs because i took pictures of the smoke cloud to send to my brother.. In the end i had a talk with the military police chief, he sort of apologized, (we were served arabic coffee in his office it was quite surreal) and...

    I witnessed an attack like this on Abu Dhabi Airport (which was claimed by the same group - you can find reports on al jazeera) in july 2018. I was arrested for 24hrs because i took pictures of the smoke cloud to send to my brother.. In the end i had a talk with the military police chief, he sort of apologized, (we were served arabic coffee in his office it was quite surreal) and they told me it was just a crew bus accident and nothing else. They also didn’t help me with rebooking my (Etihad) connecting flight to tokyo which i had missed. Have not returned to the UAE since

  2. Ron Guest

    Lucky,

    An engineer here, assisting with terminology. Apparently it was a storage tank that was struck, not a “tanker”. A tanker is a layman’s term for a ship carrying oil or other similar liquids. I’ve read elsewhere that a tank truck was also involved as a secondary explosion. But no “tankers” involved in this incident.

    Ron

  3. West Coast Flyer Guest

    The deaths of a few non-white foreign workers is always considered "minor damage" in the UAE.

    1. Abdulla Guest

      Ben,
      As an Abu Dhabi local, can definitely tell you that neither video is of Abu Dhabi airport.
      The first video does not appear to be in Abu Dhabi at all (reading the business signs), and the second video seems to be of the oil tankers explosion which happened in the industrial city some 30km away from the airport.

  4. Me Guest

    The reports say the deadly portion of the attacks was in Musaffah, an industrial area where there are large fuel storage facilities and a pipeline network, while the fire at the airport was much smaller.

    1. Me2 Guest

      This is correct. The post describing the tanker explosions as occurring at AUH is factually wrong.

  5. AJ Guest

    “…authorities are describing the fire as “minor.” While I’m no fire expert, the video footage makes the fire look pretty significant…”

    This is EXACTLY what I said when I viewed the video. And describing an event as minor when three people have died (& many more injured) is…interesting. It makes me ask…at what point does it become MORE THAN minor?

    1. henare Diamond

      when an Emirati is hurt or killed is when it becomes more than minor.

  6. TU Guest

    We taxied to the runway (AUH-CAI) at the time and the plane stopped in the middle of the runway and captain announced the airport had been closed for an undisclosed amount of time… wow didn’t know it’s because of something like this

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henare Diamond

when an Emirati is hurt or killed is when it becomes more than minor.

1
Abdulla Guest

Ben, As an Abu Dhabi local, can definitely tell you that neither video is of Abu Dhabi airport. The first video does not appear to be in Abu Dhabi at all (reading the business signs), and the second video seems to be of the oil tankers explosion which happened in the industrial city some 30km away from the airport.

1
West Coast Flyer Guest

The deaths of a few non-white foreign workers is always considered "minor damage" in the UAE.

1
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