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Yemen's Houthis 'fire ballistic missile' at UAE nuclear reactor

Houthis have previously claimed to have fired missiles at Saudi Arabia, UAE [Getty file photo]

Date of publication: 3 December, 2017

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Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed to have fired a ballistic missile towards a nuclear power plant in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, the group's television has claimed on Sunday
Yemen's Houthi rebels have claimed to have fired a ballistic missile towards a nuclear power plant in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, the group's television has claimed on Sunday, although there were no reports of any missiles reaching the Gulf state.

The Iran-aligned Houthis control much of northern Yemen and had said Abu Dhabi, a member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting against them since 2015, was a target for their missiles.

"The missile force announces the launching of a winged cruise missile... towards the al-Barakah nuclear reactor in Abu Dhabi," the website said. It gave no further details.

The Barakah project, which is being built by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), is expected to be completed and become operational in 2018, the UAE energy minister has said.

It is the second time this year the Houthis have said they have fired missiles towards the UAE. A few months ago they said they had "successfully" test fired a missile towards Abu Dhabi.

The announcement comes amid an escalation in the war in Yemen, that saw the Houthis battle the forces of their former ally Ali Abdullah Saleh.

It was the fourth day of clashes sparked by what Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) called an attempt to seize a main mosque in the city.

The fighting has killed dozens of people and wounded hundreds, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and raised concern of further casualties among civilians.

Tension between Saleh and the Houthis has been rising in recent months. Saleh has accused the Houthis of seeking to monopolise power and the rebels have accused the strongman of treason over his suspected contacts with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

On Saturday, Saleh announced he was ready to turn a "new page" in ties with the coalition fighting rebels in Yemen if it stopped attacks on his country - a move that could pave the way to end nearly three years of war.

The clashes had added a new layer to an already complex situation in Yemen, where a proxy war between the Iran-aligned Houthis and the Saudi-backed Hadi has caused one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent times.

Saleh's announcement was welcomed by the coalition, which has struggled to achieve any progress against the Houthi-Saleh alliance that had controlled most of northern Yemen since 2015 and forced President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee into exile.

Yemen's war has killed more than 10,000 people since 2015, displaced more than two million people, caused a cholera outbreak infecting nearly one million people and led the country to the brink of famine.

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