Coffins containing the bodies of Emirati soldiers killed in Yemen arrive in Abu Dhabi on September 5, 2015. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Tributes poured in from around the country and top officials took to the social media to pay respects to the gallant servicemen who were martyred on Friday while taking part in fighting in Yemen in the Saudi-led operation aimed at driving out Houthi rebels.

45 Emirati soldiers were martyred while taking part in fighting in Yemen in the Saudi-led operation aimed at driving out Houthi rebels.

The incident took place at an arms depot at a military base in the eastern province of Marib in central Yemen near the border with Saudi Arabia.

Defending justice

"The UAE today sacrificed their men to defend justice, reject injustice and support our brothers in Yemen," said His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Twitter.

“Today we offer our heartfelt condolences to the people of the UAE on the death of these heroes. May God have mercy on their souls and bestow patience upon their families,” said Shaikh Mohammad.

“These events will only makes us more steadfast in our stand with justice. The sacrifices of our sons only makes us prouder of them, and with every passing day, we grow more determined to achieve victory. Today, the people of the UAE stand courageously behind their leadership and nation, and are unwavering in their historic stand with the Saudi-led Arab coalition,” he added.

True patriots

In a statement on Twitter, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces said: “Our sons have made the ultimate sacrifice; they're true patriots who demonstrated utmost love and loyalty to their country and nation.”

"The whole nation have been imbued a new spirit thanks to the sacrifices of our martyrs that shall always be cherished & remembered," he tweeted.

“The whole nation have been imbued a new spirit thanks to the sacrifices of our martyrs that shall always be cherished and remembered," he said.




The General Command of the UAE Armed Forces extended condolences and sympathy to the families of the martyrs praying to Allah Almighty to rest their souls in peace.

A surface-to-surface missile targeted an ammunition depot, killing our martyrs, Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, tweeted yesterday.

“Our military effort will continue and Ma’arib will God willing be liberated soon,” Dr Gargash said on his twitter account.

At least six other Emirati soldiers have been killed in Yemen since the offensive began.

Operation Restoring Hope

The UAE soldiers’ death bring the death toll of servicemen  fighting in Operation Restoring Hope to 51 since the Saudi- led coalition began the fight to restore the Yemen government and oust Al Houthi rebels who have seized control of parts of the country, including the capital of Sanaa.

50 UAE soldiers have died in Yemen and in June, a non-commissioned officer was killed during a training exercise in Saudi Arabia as part of a training exercise as part of the operation.

Dr Gargash tweeted: “O Allah Almighty, may You grant them Your mercy. Our sons, the heroes, make the ultimate sacrifice for their homeland, their people. Their memory shall remain for ever.”

Dr Gargash added the martyrdom of our sons increases our resolve to finish the mission. “Heroes of the UAE show their gallantry. Our flag will remain high and a cowardly attack will not deter us, nor will it stops us from realising our goals.”

Clear Arab message

He emphasised that the test of Yemen and the steadfastness of the Arab coalition sends a clear Arab message of willpower and perseverance. “We will not be an easy prey or a facile target. The UAE leads the way in both action and bravery.

Dr Gargash added that the souls of our martyrs safeguard our future. “We stand by Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the entire GCC. The glory of the UAE is unshakable. I bow down to our nation and to the martyrdom of its sons.  We mourn our heroes in every street, neighbourhood and city, but our flag will  remain high and proud.”

Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Vice-Chancellor of the UAE University, tweeted: “God, may You accept them as martyrs in the highest heaven, and reunite us with them in Paradise.

Other citizens paid sincere and heartfelt tributes to patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the ideals for which the nation stands.

A fire erupted at dawn, Friday, in a weapon’s depot of battalion 107, deployed in Safir in the province of Ma’arib, Eastern Yemen. The fire resulted in violent explosions, sources said.

The fire has been contained, the source stressed, and a full-scale investigation will now be initiated to bring to account those responsible, sources said.

The Safir military camp has been receiving thousands of soldiers loyal to Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, along with advanced weaponry and missile systems from the Arab coalition forces.

The Houthis, however, claimed they fired a rocket at a weapons cache in a camp used by coalition forces in the central Ma’arib area, killing dozens of Emirati and Yemeni soldiers and destroying a number of Apache helicopters and armed vehicles, according to the Reuters news agency.

Yemeni military sources told AFP that Arab coalition soldiers were among those killed in what they said was an accidental explosion at an ammunition store.

The 30th of November has been designated as Martyr’s Day in memory of and in tribute to our fallen heroes, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered on Aug. 19.

Martyr’s Day will be a national holiday, according to the President’s order. The martyrs “offered their lives so as to keep the UAE flag flying aloft while they were performing their national duties within and outside the country, in civilian, military and humanitarian fields,” the President’s order stated.

Shaikh Khalifa’s order came to honour the legacy of the UAE heroes whose sacrifices have not only made the nation proud but also helped to alleviate injustice, especially in the case of our heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, in support of the Yemeni people’s struggle to regain their country back from the tyranny of the Al Houthi militia and its allies.

This country was built and being preserved by the sacrifices of the patriot men and women who have given all.

Ali Hasan Al Shehhi, was one of the Emirati servicemen who were martyred yesterday. Al Shehhi  was the third eldest among his siblings, and played as defender for Al-Emarat football team in Ras Al Khaimah. His brother, Abdallah Al Shehhi, who plays as goalkeeper for the same team, said that the last time he had spoken to Ali was 4 days ago, on the phone. Ali’s younger brother had spoken to him after dawn prayers on Friday, when Ali himself prayed as imam with his fellow soldiers.

Al Shehhi, a non-commissioned officer, was deployed over two weeks ago, his brother said. They received the news of his martyrdom after Friday prayers, when his fellow servicemen called from their camp to deliver the news. “What more can I say?” Abdallah said. “He was martyred serving his country and obeying his elders. We consider him a hero fit for Paradise.”

The hashtag commemorating the martyrs rose to first place in the worldwide trend on social media site Twitter, and has been tweeted under over 83 thousand times in the past 24 hours.

Mariam Bin Fahad tweeted: Day after Day, the UAE proves it is at the forefront of defenders of the Arab world.

Abdullah Al Nuaimi said; ‘Tell your children the story of the martyrs, of their heroism, of love of country, of identity, and of justice. Glory be to them.”

Ahmad Mousa tweeted: “We were saddened by the new of your death, but at the same time we are happy at your martyrdom.”

Mohammad Bin Kadfour said: “They were martyred on a Friday while they were fighting for justice. Their martyrdom increases the resolve of men.”

Badr Safouq said: “To build a great nation, people must sacrifice their lives whenever need be.”

Anoud Al Yamahi said: “May God aid every mother who lost her son and every wife who her husband and every orphaned child.”

Other citizens tweeted that the memory of the martyrs’ sacrifice will never fade and the UAE’s message to them is that their names and sacrifices are highly honoured.

They said the UAE holds up its citizens who have given their lives in the service of their country.