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The United States condemns Houthi drone strikes on UAE oil rigs

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The White House said it "strongly condemns" a deadly attack by Yemeni Houthi rebels at an oil plant in Abu Dhabi on Monday that killed three people and set off a fire at a nearby airport.

"Our commitment to security in the UAE is unwavering and we stand by our Emirati partners against all threats to their territory," National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement on Monday.

On Twitter, Emirati diplomat Anwar Gargash accused the Iran-backed Houthis of the attack.

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Yemenis inspect the wreckage of buildings after being hit by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. (AP Photo / Hani Mohammed)

Yemenis inspect the wreckage of buildings after being hit by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. (AP Photo / Hani Mohammed) (AP)

"The manipulation of terrorist militias with the stability of the region is too weak to affect the security and safety process we live in, and the fate of this ruthlessness and absurdity is to perish and defeat," he wrote.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., known under the acronym ADNOC, is the state-owned energy company that supplies much of the wealth of the UAE, an association of seven sheikhs on the Arabian Peninsula and also home to Dubai.

Monday's attacks brought the protracted Yemeni war into Emirati territory, though fighting erupted overnight with Saudi-led airstrikes hitting Yemen's capital, Sanaa, killing and wounding civilians. Meanwhile, fears of new disruptions in global energy supply after the attack pushed benchmark Brent Crude to the highest price for years.

The attack killed two Indian nationals and a Pakistani citizen. Three tankers exploded and six people were injured at the facility, which is located near Al-Dhafra Air Base, also home to US and French forces.

A satellite photo of Planet Labs PBC shows Abu Dhabi International Airport on December 8, 2021. A suspected drone attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels targeting a major oil plant in Abu Dhabi killed three people and set off a separate fire at Abu Dhabi International Airport on Monday, May 17. January 2022, police say.  (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

A satellite photo of Planet Labs PBC shows Abu Dhabi International Airport on December 8, 2021. A suspected drone attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels targeting a major oil plant in Abu Dhabi killed three people and set off a separate fire at Abu Dhabi International Airport on Monday, May 17. January 2022, police say. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

A fire also hit Abu Dhabi International Airport. Authorities said the attack was from a drone, and the Houthis claim to have used cruise and ballistic missiles in the attack without providing evidence.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said on Tuesday it was launching a bombing campaign against Houthi areas in Sanaa, hitting a drone-operating base in Mount Nabi Shuaib, near the Yemeni capital.

Although the UAE has largely withdrawn its own forces from Yemen, they are still actively involved in the conflict and support Yemeni militias fighting the Houthis.

A man inspects the wreckage of a building after it was damaged in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

A man inspects the wreckage of a building after it was damaged in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. (AP)

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The incident comes as the Houthis are exposed to pressure and suffer heavy losses on the battlefields. Yemeni government forces, allied and backed by the United Arab Emirates, have pushed the rebels back into key provinces.

With the help of the Emirati-backed giant brigades, government forces retook the province of Shabwa earlier this month as a blow to Houthi's efforts to complete their control over the entire northern half of Yemen.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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