Houthis attack Abu Dhabi oil depot, airport with kamikaze drones

Occurred: January 2022

Yemin Houthi rebels used multiple weapon-laden drones to attack Abu Dhabi's main airport and a petrol storage facility, raising concerns about the use of lethal autonomous weapons.

On January 17, 2022, 'a large number of' drones struck three oil refueling vehicles at an Abu Dhabi National Oil Company oil refinery, while a simultaeous drone attack hit an extension to Abu Dhabi's International Airport. Three people were killed after the fuel trucks exploded, and six were injured.

The UAE’s Ministry of Interior responded by announcing a complete ban on the use of recreational drones across the country, with anyone caught violating the ban facing up to five years in prison and a minimum fine of Dh100,000.

The attack was seen to raise concerns about the misuse of drones, and more generally about the nature and use of lethal autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons. 

Operator: Ansar Allah

Developer: Ansar Allah

Country: UAE - Abu Dhabi; Yemen

Sector: Govt - energy; Govt - transport

Purpose: Kill/maim/damage/destroy

Technology: Drone

Issue: Lethal autonomous weapons; Ethics; Dual/multi-use
Transparency: Governance

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: January 2022