DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - A Yemen rebel drone strike this week on a critical Saudi oil pipeline shows that the otherwise-peaceful sandy reaches of the Arabian Peninsula now are at risk of similar assault, including an under-construction nuclear power plant and Dubai International Airport, among the world's busiest. U.N. investigators said the Houthis' new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 km (930 miles). That puts the far reaches of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two main opponents of the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, within reach of drones difficult to detect and track. Their relatively simple design, coupled with readily available information online, makes targeting even easier, analysts say. "These installations are easily findable, like on Google Earth," said Tim Michetti, an expert on illicit weapons technology with experience in Yemen.
The United Arab Emirates' state-run news agency is denying a claim that a Yemeni missile targeted its under-construction nuclear plant. The WAM news agency disputed the Shiite rebel account in a report Sunday that said the country also had air-defense systems capable of protecting it. The Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, earlier said they fired a missile at an under-construction nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi. The $20 billion Barakah nuclear power plant is in Abu Dhabi's far western desert. The first of its four reactors, being built in the UAE's near its border with Saudi Arabia, is scheduled to come online in 2018.