UAE joins US-led maritime protection mission

The United Arab Emirates says it has joined a US-led coalition to protect waterways across the Mideast after an attack on Saudi oil installations.

The state-run WAM news agency announced the UAE’s decision in a statement Thursday.

It quoted Salem al-Zaabi of the Emirati Foreign Ministry as saying the UAE joined the coalition to “ensure global energy security and the continued flow of energy supplies to the global economy.”

Saudi Arabia joined the coalition on Wednesday. Australia, Bahrain and the United Kingdom also are taking part.

The US formed the coalition after attacks on oil tankers that American officials blame on Iran, as well as Iran’s seizure of tankers in the region. Iran denies being behind the tanker explosions.

The weekend strikes on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry knocked out half its production, rattling energy markets.

Tehran-linked Huthi rebels in the kingdom’s southern neighbour Yemen have claimed responsibility, but both Washington and Riyadh have ruled that out.

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