Suspected drone strike in UAE leaves two Indians dead: Brief history of UAVs being used in terror attacks

A suspected drone attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels targeting a key oil facility in Abu Dhabi killed three people and sparked a separate fire at Abu Dhabi's international airport on Monday, police said.

FP Staff January 17, 2022 21:59:09 IST
Suspected drone strike in UAE leaves two Indians dead: Brief history of UAVs being used in terror attacks

Representative image. News18

A suspected drone attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels targeting a key oil facility in Abu Dhabi killed three people including two Indians and sparked a separate fire at Abu Dhabi's international airport on Monday.

Police in the United Arab Emirates identified the dead as two Indian nationals and one Pakistani. Their identities are being ascertained, confirms Indian envoy to UAE Sunjay Sudhir to ANI.

Here is everything you need to know about drones and a brief history of their use in terror attacks:

What are drones

Drones are “unmanned aerial vehicles” or UAV. Developed essentially as military tools to eliminate a risk without putting a pilot’s life in danger.

The US military first used drones in the 1991 Gulf War for combat advantage. The US military has since extensively used combat drones in war zones to take surveillance footage as well as to drop bombs to eliminate targets.

Over the years, drones have also increasingly been used for photography, shooting videos and delivering merchandise.

Drones used in terror attacks

The use of drones by terrorist organisations can be traced back to as early as 2013.

According to a report by India Today, Al-Qaeda attempted a terror attack using multiple drones in 2013 in Pakistan without success.

The Islamic State used small drones and quadcopters in Iraq and Syria in 2014, according to the Los Angeles Times.

During the battle for Mosul in 2016-17, the Islamic State used drones to kill and injure Iraqi soldiers by dropping light explosives.

On 9 January, 2018, a swarm of drones armed with bombs attacked Russian bases in western Syria. According to a report by CNBC, ten drones rigged with explosive devices descended over Russia’s Hmeimim air base while further three targeted the Russian Naval CSS point in the nearby city of Tartus.

On 4 August, 2018, two small drones detonated explosives near the place where Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro was delivering a speech in an apparent assassination attempt, according to The Guardian. The event left nine people injured, however, nobody died in the explosion.

On 14 May, 2019, Saudi Arabia said that armed drones struck two of its oil-pumping stations west of Riyadh.

According to Al Jazeera, Riyadh called it a “cowardly” act by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

The Houthi forces again launched drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid Airbase and Abha and Najran airports on 5 August, 2019, as per a report by Al Jazeera.

While a Houthi spokesperson claimed the drones “hit their targets”, a spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition said the drones were intercepted and downed heading in the direction of civilian airports.

On 14 September, 2019, the Houthis launched drone attacks at two major oil facilities run by Saudi Aramco and caused a blaze, as per The New York Times.

The drone threat was felt closer to home when an IAF base in Jammu was attacked on 27 June, 2021.

Two low-intensity IEDs were allegedly dropped from two drones. According to officials, this was the first time suspected Pakistan-based terrorists used UAVs in an attack.

 

With inputs from agencies

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