Reuters reported that for the first time, some residents of Abu Dhabi are concerned about the security situation after two missile attacks within a week on the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
She added that the UAE has always enjoyed the image of a safe commercial haven that has not witnessed any of the waves of violence that afflicted some other Arab countries, but this image was cracked when it was hit by a missile attack launched by the Yemeni Houthi group on January 17, which killed 3 people in Abu Dhabi, In the first attack of its kind on its territory.
On Monday, residents woke to the sounds of explosions over the coastal capital in the early hours of the morning when the UAE intercepted another attack.
Shinas Govinda, 31, a South African ultrasound expert who has lived in the UAE for three years, told Reuters in an Abu Dhabi mall, “Sure we are upset…but we have complete confidence in the leaders of the UAE. I am confident that They have a good defense system.”
The UAE, which prides itself on its security and stability and has rarely discussed its security in public, said it had thwarted the latest attack and that there were no casualties.
Randa Rizk, a 35-year-old Egyptian who works in sales and marketing, said she felt “some concern” but also expressed confidence in the UAE government’s ability to continue to provide safety for her family.
Expatriates make up the majority of the population of the UAE, a global travel hub, tourist destination and commercial hub, and many live in oil-rich Abu Dhabi.
Emirati academic Abdul Khaleq Abdullah wrote on Twitter to his followers that the UAE was “confident of its defenses and capabilities and keen on the security of the citizen and resident on its land.”
While Abu Dhabi holds the country’s oil wealth, neighboring Dubai’s economy focuses on tourism and international business, and is more vulnerable to shocks.
“It’s worrying but frankly I don’t see much discussion on the ground on this issue,” said an analyst at a Dubai bank, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Khaled Majid, fund manager at Sam Capital in London, said that the attacks so far seemed like a warning to the UAE, which supports Yemeni forces that recently joined the fight against the Houthis in two oil-producing provinces.
But some residents worry that the escalation will continue.
“I moved here (the UAE) in the belief that it would be less chaotic here,” said 19-year-old American medical student Talia Rivera. “In general, I feel safe, but I don’t know how the situation will escalate.”