The United Arab Emirates prevented a missile attack – and a possible regional military escalation – during Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s historic visit to the Gulf state on Sunday, the country’s Defense Ministry said.

Herzog’s visit comes as Iran appears intent on thwarting UAE relations with Israel after signing a normalization agreement and furthering military, diplomatic and economic ties with the Jewish state.

Tensions between the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen and the UAE have intensified in the past few weeks. The UAE Ministry of Defense said it intercepted a Houthi missile on Sunday, but did not say where it was headed.

“UAE MOD Joint Operations Command announces at 00:50 UAE time the destruction of platform for ballistic missile launched from Al-Jawf, Yemen towards UAE. Missile was intercepted at 00:20 by air defences,” the Ministry of Defense said in a tweet adding video it claims, “of successful destruction of missile platform and launch site.”

In a statement, the UAE Defense Ministry said the missile fell “outside of populated areas.”

“The UAE air defense forces and the [Saudi-led] Coalition Command had succeeded in destroying the missile launcher in Yemen after identifying locations of the sites,” the statement said.

This is the third such attack by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthis on UAE targets this month. On Jan. 17 the Houthis claimed responsibility for a drone attack in Abu Dhabi in which three people were killed and another six were injured. The Houthis said the attacks came in retaliation for the UAE’s “recent escalation in Yemen.”

“Provoking us will not work” and “whoever puts the UAE to the test will fail,” Anwar Gargash, diplomatic advisor to the UAE president, wrote on Twitter. “We do not see the threats and fantasies of terrorist organizations based on illusions as more than a passing matter that will be dealt with in a manner that guarantees our security and national sovereignty.”

Herzog’s office released a statement saying that the president’s trip was continuing as scheduled. 

“There was not, and is not, any danger posed to the president and his entourage,” the statement said.

Herzog condemned the attack, according to The Associated Press.

“I wish to emphasize that we completely support your security requirements and we condemn in all forms and language any attack on your sovereignty,” he said in a statement.

Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog are in the UAE for a two-day visit and had earlier met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the royal palace. Today, the Israeli president is slated to visit Dubai and open Israel’s national day at Dubai Expo 2020.

Gargash earlier tweeted: “Building on the Abraham Accords a historic visit of President Isaac Herzog to the UAE. Bilateral relations & Expo Dubai main focus. The UAE is clearly committed to building bridges, greater regional cooperation & de-escalation. The ME needs a new vision of stability & prosperity.”

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett last week offered to provide military support to the UAE against future attacks. 

“Israel stands with the UAE,” he wrote in a letter to Bin Zayed. “I stand with [Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Zayed. The world should stand against terror.”

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price also condemned the Houthi attack. 

“While Israel’s president is visiting the UAE to build bridges and promote stability across the region, the Houthis continue to launch attacks that threaten civilians,” Price wrote on Twitter.

Last week, the U.S. State Department warned citizens not to travel to the Gulf state amid threats of more attacks.

“Rebel groups operating in Yemen have stated an intent to attack neighboring countries, including the UAE, using missiles and drones. Recent missile and drone attacks targeted populated areas and civilian infrastructure,” the travel advisory warned.

The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen. The coalition supports the Yemeni government which is opposed by Iranian-backed Shi’ite Houthis rebels. The Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.

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