The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has transported four Israeli intelligence officers to Yemen’s Socotra Archipelago, Iran’s Nour News reported on April 17, citing Yemeni media sources.
According to the news outlet, the officers arrived in Abd al Kuri Island, which is located more than 100 kilometers to the west of Socotra Island, aboard a Emirati warship.
“The Zionist officers were moved in to supervise the construction of a joint Emirati-Israeli base on the strategic island,” Nour News quoted Yemeni sources as saying.
The UAE, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis (Ansar Allah) in Yemen, took over Socotra and nearby islands in 2018. The archipelago is currently under the control of the Southern Transitional Council, Abu Dhabi’s main proxy in Yemen.
In the last few years, several reports alleged that that the UAE and Israel are working to establish a joint spy base in Socotra. Yet, no unusual constructions were observed at any of the archipelago’s islands.
On April 13, the pro-Houthi al-Masirah TV reported that the UAE had deployed “dozens” of military helicopters at Abd al Kuri Island. However, this is yet to be verified.
The UAE’s takeover of Socotra was criticized by most Yemeni sides, first and foremost the Houthis and the Saudi-backed government.
The UAE and Israeli have been working to improve their military, security and economic cooperation since formalizing their relations in 2020 as a part of the US-sponsored Abraham Accords. Their joint work on Yemen is directed against the Iran-allied Houthis.