The Raptors landed at Al-Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi, which hosts some 2,000 U.S. troops.
American soldiers there launched Patriot interceptor missiles in response to the Houthi attacks last month, the first time U.S. troops have fired the system in combat since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
American officials declined to say how many F-22s deployed or the number of airmen supporting the aircraft, citing operational security. However, they identified the unit involved as the 1st Fighter Wing, located at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia. A photo later released by the Air Force showed six F-22s in a line on a taxiway at Al-Dhafra.
“The Raptors’ presence will bolster already strong partner nation defenses and puts destabilizing forces on notice that the U.S. and our partners are committed to enabling peace and stability in the region,” Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, the commander of the U.S. Air Force’s Mideast command, announced in a statement.
The deployment comes after the Yemen’s Houthis launched three attacks targeting Abu Dhabi last month, including one targeting a fuel depot that killed three people and wounded six.
Though overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis, the missile fire targeting the Emirates has sparked a major U.S. response. The American military has sent the USS Cole on a mission to Abu Dhabi.
U.S. President Joe Biden has stated Washington supports Saudi Arabia in the Yemen war that recently saw Yemenis retaliatory attacks against Riyadh.
Biden reaffirmed the United States’ “commitment to support” Saudi Arabia against the Yemen’s retaliation during a phone call with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Thursday, according to a White House readout of the conversation.
Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a war against the Arab world’s most impoverished nation in March 2015. The war has been seeking to restore power in Yemen to Riyadh’s favorite officials.
The death toll of the war, now in its seventh year, will reach an estimated 377,000 by the end of 2021, according to a recent report from the UN’s Development Programme.
The fighting has seen some 80 percent of the population, or 24 million people, relying on aid and assistance, including 14.3 million who are in acute need.
The war has enjoyed nearly uninterrupted American arms, logistical, and political support.