UAE Denies Yemen Rebels Fired Missile at Abu Dhabi Nuclear Plant

The claim on Sunday comes amid heavy fighting in Yemen’s capital, Sana, between the Shiite Houthi rebels and some of their former allies, who are led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The war in Yemen has created one of the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe, unleashing a looming famine, outbreaks of cholera and other calamities.

Mr. Saleh, who stepped down in 2011 after a mass uprising against his 33 years in office, had made an alliance with the Houthis, but fractures emerged between the former leader and the rebels, further exacerbating the crisis.

In a televised speech on Saturday, Mr. Saleh blamed the Houthis’ “idiocy” for the war in Yemen and declared he was ready to turn a “new page” in ties with the coalition if it stopped attacks on his country — a move that could pave the way to end the war.

“I call upon the brothers in neighboring states and the alliance to stop their aggression, lift the siege, open the airports and allow food aid and the saving of the wounded and we will turn a new page by virtue of our neighborliness,” Mr. Saleh said.

In a statement carried by the Saudi-owned Al-Hadath news outlet, the coalition appeared to welcome Mr. Saleh’s remarks, saying it was “confident of the will of the leaders and sons” of Mr. Saleh’s political party to return to the fold.


‘It’s a Slow Death’: The World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis

Two and a half years of war and a crippling cholera outbreak have brought Yemen to the brink of collapse.

The apparent shift came as Mr. Saleh’s supporters battled Houthi fighters for a fourth day in the capital. A senior security officer at the Ministry of Interior in Sana said that about 80 people have died and at least 140 more have been injured since fighting broke out.


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The coalition accuses Iran of trying to expand its influence into Arab countries, including Yemen, which shares a long border with Saudi Arabia, by aligning with the Houthis. Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition, which includes the United Arab Emirates, have targeted the Houthi rebels.

The Houthis, in turn, have accused Mr. Saleh of betrayal, and vowed to keep up the fight against coalition.

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The nuclear power plant, in Abu Dhabi’s far western desert, is being built by the Korea Electric Power Corporation near the border with Saudi Arabia and is scheduled to begin operating next year, the United Arab Emirates energy minister has said, according to The Associated Press.

The claim of a missile strike on Saturday comes after Arab news media had reported hours earlier that Israel had fired missiles at a military base being built near the Syrian city of al-Qiswa, southwest of Damascus, destroying an arms depot.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the missiles had struck positions of the Syrian government and its allies southwest of Damascus.

The rights group’s leader, Rami Abdul Rahman, said the missile had targeted a military base near Kesweh, south of Damascus. Mr. Rahman said it was not clear whether the warehouse was operated by the Syrian Army, Iran or the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.

Israel has not commented on the reports. But it previously acknowledged carrying out repeated air and missile strikes in Syria since the beginning of the war six years ago to stop arms deliveries to Hezbollah.

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