A pall of gloom descended on the country as 45 soldiers who were killed in Friday’s missile attack in Yemen were laid to rest on Saturday.
Emiratis flocked to funeral prayers offered in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah for the brave men who laid down their lives during the Saudi-led ‘Operation Restore Hope’.
Amid tears and sobs, however, the families showed immense courage to accept the fate and pledged their willingness to shed blood for their homeland engaged in a just mission.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, extended his deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the martyrs. During visits to mourning majlises in Al Ain city and Ajman, he prayed to the Almighty Allah to grant their souls rest in paradise and to bestow patience and solace upon their families.
While 13 soldiers were laid to rest in Ras Al Khaimah, six were buried in Fujairah. Shaikh Mohammed bin Hamed Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, took part in the funeral prayers for the six Fujairah martyrs offered after the Asr prayers in the Armed Forces Mosque. The Crown Prince expressed his condolences to the families of the martyrs, and said their martyred relatives are sons of the entire UAE.
“They are a source of pride and glory,” he said.
In Ras Al Khaimah, the local community, including people from nearby emirates, flocked to the Shaikh Zayed Mosque on Qawasim Corniche to bid farewell to the 13 members who were killed in the ammunition depot blast. People who arrived at the mosque were also found consoling the relatives of the deceased who were struggling to overcome their grief.
Saif Obaid, brother of martyr Obaid Saeed Rashid Al Mazrouie, said though they were shocked by the death of his brother and other Emirati heroes, he and his family willingly accepted God’s will. “Myself, my 11 brothers and sisters are more than ready to sacrifice our blood and souls for our beloved country, and give hand to our brothers in Yemen,” he said.
The father of the 35-year-old martyr was the last one to talk to him two days back. “Everything was fine, and father prayed for hissafe return as well as fulfilment of his mission,” Saif added.
The martyr, based in the town of Azan in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, was compassionate to his family and six young kids. “He was so kind to all family members, and so brave to answer the call of duty and serve his country.”
He said the deceased, a first sergeant, was happy to take part in the operation to stand by justice in line with the instruction of the UAE’s prudent leadership.
“He was happy to give his soul to protect his people here in the UAE and his Arab brothers in Yemen.”
Nasser Ali, an uncle of UAE martyr Ali Hassan Al Balochi of Al Dheit South area in Ras Al Khaimah, told Khaleej Times: “Though the 28-year-old martyr was newly married and has only one son, he answered the call of duty and willingly flew to Yemen.”
The uncle said the martyr’s five brothers are more than ready to sacrifice their souls and blood for the service of their country. “It is not only the martyred corporal who was ready to serve his country but we all are.”
The martyr’s uncle was the last one to talk to him three days back.
“He was so proud of his role in the operation to restore the legitimate government in Yemen, and I can proudly say though we are so sad to lose him, we are all submissive to God’s will and so happy about the high rank of martyrdom he was granted.”
Nader Al Shehi, cousin of 30-year-old martyr Adel Saleh Adel Al Shehi of Al Julan area in Ras Al Khaimah, said : “My cousin was all willing to lose his life for his country as his dream was to join the armed forces since early childhood.”
The martyr, a corporal, was so sad about the situation in Yemen, and wish to stand with the UAE’s leadership, he added. “Therefore, he was of the first batches to fly to Yemen and defend legitimacy there.”
All family members, though sad about his demise, are happy about the martyrdom he has won, Nader said. “We are all ready to sacrifice our lives for the service of our country as did the martyr,” he added. Mohammed Dalmuj, an Emirati employee, said martyrdom is the utmost hope of every Muslim.
Manea Al Shamsi, an Emirati employee, said: “The UAE soldiers have sacrificed their souls and money to fight the offenders, and restore life and hope to the people of Yemen.” Sherif Al Wakeel, an Egyptian contractor, said he was sorry about the sad demise of the UAE martyrs.
“I rushed to the blood bank in Dubai early in the morning to give my blood to my injured brothers.” Renowned scholar Shaikh Moheb Abdul Ghani said this bloodshed will not undermine the operation in Yemen. “The UAE and Arab heroes are fully dedicated to fulfil their mission and bring life to Yemen.”
In Fujairah, the Crown Prince and other officials received the bodies of the martyrs at Fujairah airport. The bodies were then transported by ambulances to the Armed Forces Mosque in the Mureished neighbourhood of Fujairah.
A large numbers of local residents had gathered at the mosque since early morning to get a last glimpse of the fallen heroes.
Following the funeral prayers, the ambulances took each body to their respective areas in the emirate – Al Halah area in Al Tuween, Dibba and Fujairah City.
A man of Al Shehi clan in Qirat neighbourhood said: “Our son, Yazeed, has gained martyrdom for the sake of God, Allah, and in defending nations – a glorious and great reward Allah, the almighty, bestows on whoever he wants.”