UAE hosts drill amid Yemen war, Iran tensions

People watch a military drill on a large screen in Abu Dhabi. (AP)
Updated 03 March 2017

UAE hosts drill amid Yemen war, Iran tensions

ABU DHABI: A choreographed military exercise in the capital of the UAE drew hundreds of cellphone-filming onlookers — but they were not the only intended audience for the re-enactment of a hostage rescue.
The pinpoint parachute drop and fast-rope assault on a ship from a helicopter, all overseen by a buzzing drone, showed the technical prowess of the UAE’s military at a time when Gulf Arab countries are increasingly skeptical of Iran.
While hosting some 5,000 American troops, the UAE seeks to send a message to Iran that it remains capable of defending itself and launching assaults with its forces. That comes as Iran conducts military drills of its own and questions remain what approach US President Donald Trump will take with Tehran.
The Emirati forces are now battle-hardened from the Saudi-led war in Yemen and the experience gained while serving in the US-led coalition in Afghanistan.
Thursday’s maneuvers, called Union Fortress, took place along Abu Dhabi’s seaside corniche.
It featured fighter jets, helicopters and a mock seaborne hostage rescue performed by Emirati troops.
Last month, the UAE performed a staged assault as part of a biennial arms’ fair called the International Defense Exhibition and Conference, known by the acronym IDEX. However, such maneuvers before the public are rare in the UAE.
It offered no back story for the assault on the ship, other than a narrator describing a hostage-taking on board. Then came the gunfire on the shore, strafing runs by helicopters and armored carriers racing troops past onlookers for a raid.
An announcer offered poetry during some of the assault, while children wearing military uniforms played in the sand amid the explosions.


Dubai clarifies rules on wearing face masks in public

Updated 54 min 10 sec ago

Dubai clarifies rules on wearing face masks in public

  • The clarification comes as Dubai eases public mobility restrictions and allowing businesses to resume operation

DUBAI: Children under the age of the six, the disabled, and those who have respiratory problems are exempt from wearing face masks in public areas, Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has clarified.

The new guidelines come as Dubai returns to normal life – easing public mobility restrictions and allowing businesses to resume operation.

People are allowed to temporarily remove their masks if they are driving alone or with family members, according to the new guideline, adding those who are eating or drinking, and engaging in exercise or medical treatments are also permitted to remove their masks.