Sunday December 04, 2022

After an attack on an oil facility, recreational drones are banned in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), has banned hobbyists from flying consumer drones. The ban on consumer drones by hobbyists was announced by the Ministry of the Interior (UAE) on Saturday. It comes after a suspected drone attack at Abu Dhabi’s capital. Although the ministry did not mention recent attacks, it mentioned “misuse spotted recently”, incidents of drone pilots “trespassing in areas where these types activities are prohibited” and the need to “ensure safety of lives and property.”
According to APNews reports, the recent attack on Abu Dhabi’s airport and oil facility involved both “ballistic missiles” and “explosive-laden drones.” However, it is not clear from reports what size or model these drones were. The Islamist, Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed the attacks. They currently control large parts of Yemen and are fighting a coalition of forces that includes the UAE.
Houthi rebels previously used small drones in attacks on Arab countries in recent years, including in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Last week’s attack represents an increase in tension. BBC News reports that it is the first time the UAE has acknowledged such attacks and that they have been fatal, with three people being killed and six others wounded.
Although the UAE pulled its troops out of Yemen in 2019, it continues to train and supply militias against the Houthi. The UAE is determined to be seen as a bastion for stability in the region and has been shifting diplomatic relationships with Iran in recent years. In such a setting, deadly strikes by missiles and drones are especially alarming.
The UAE may be able to keep its skies under tighter control if recreational drone use is banned. APNews reports that the UAE already restricts flights in residential areas near airports. According to the ministry of the interior, exceptions may be granted for “work contracts or commercial or advertisement projects that rely upon filming using drones,” provided that those involved have obtained “the necessary permits and exceptions.”

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