Twenty-two soldiers from the United Arab Emirates’ military have been killed while taking part in a Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, according to the country’s state news agency WAM. Pro-government Yemeni security officials said the troops were killed on Friday when a Houthi missile hit a weapons storage depot near their position in the province of Marib, about 120 kilometres east of the capital Sanaa.
Officials from the Houthi media office in Sanaa confirmed they fired a Soviet-era Tochka missile at the site. Saudi Arabia and a coalition of other mostly Arab states have been fighting since March to restore Yemen’s exiled government and to repel the Houthis, who took control of the capital Sanaa in September last year.
Friday was by far the deadliest day for the Emirati military since the conflict began, and the deaths are believed to be the country’s highest number of military casualties since the UAE federation was founded in 1971.
At least five other Emirati soldiers have been killed in Yemen since the offensive began. Emirati ground forces and hardware have been playing an increasingly prominent role in the conflict in recent weeks, though officials have not made clear the full extent of their role or the numbers of troops involved.