After a series of air strikes on a refinery and Abu Dhabi International Airport During the week of January 17, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of the Interior announced that the use of consumer drones and light sport aircraft has been banned indefinitely.
The attacks carried out by the Houthi movement, which has ties to Iran, resulted in three deaths at the refinery and caused data and a fire at the airport. While officials have described these attacks as having used cruise missiles and military-grade drones, heightened security initiatives in the country have prompted authorities to ban flights of commercial UAVs as well as light aircraft and gliders.
“The Ministry of the Interior is currently halting all flight operations for drone owners, practitioners and enthusiasts, including drones and light sport aircraft. This also covers air and sailing points. The decision came after recently detected misuse, not limiting the practice of these sports to areas identified in user licenses and encroaching on areas where these types of activities are prohibited.”
— Part of the announcement by the UAE Ministry of Interior
Reproduction/Ministry of Interior of the United Arab Emirates
The Interior Ministry announcement does not mention how long the use of drones will be banned, but the Reuters news agency says this can last about a month. Despite this, UAE authorities can make exceptions and offer permits to companies that use drones for filming. “Entities that have employment contracts or commercial or advertising projects that rely on filming using drones should contact the authorities to obtain the necessary authorizations to carry out their works and projects during this period to avoid any consequences that affect the timing of these projects”, says the announcement from the Ministry of the Interior.
The UAE Ministry of Interior reiterates to users that anyone carrying out these activities during this time and disregarding the guidelines will be subject to legal liability.
It is worth remembering that the country is part of a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and an ally of the United States that fights against the Houthis in Yemen. The country has armed and trained local Yemeni forces that have recently joined the fight against the Houthis in the energy-producing regions of Shabwa and Marib in Yemen.
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