UAE bans flying of recreational drones after fatal attack

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) banned the flying of drones in the country for recreation after Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed a fatal drone attack on an oil facility and major airport in the country.

As of Saturday, drone hobbyists and other operators of light electric sports aircraft face “legal liabilities” if caught flying the objects, the Interior Ministry said, adding it may grant exemptions to businesses seeking to film.

A rare drone and missile strike on the capital of Abu Dhabi blew up several fuel tankers and killed three people last week.

The Houthis, who hold Yemen’s capital and have fought yearslong war with a military coalition, claimed the assault.

The UAE said the Houthis targetted the country with bomb-laden drones and cruise and ballistic missiles, adding the country had intercepted some of the projectiles. In response to the strike, a coalition escalated attacks on the rebel-held parts of Yemen in the last week.

Government regulations in the UAE already restrict flying drones in residential areas and near, around and over airports. Drone users typically must obtain a certificate from the civil aviation authorities.

File photo of a drone following a man riding a motorised surfboard in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. PHOTO: AP