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Family of fallen UAE soldier says he was proud to serve his country

ABU DHABI // The bodies of Emirati servicemen Lance Corporal Soliman Mohammed Soliman Al Dhohouri and Sergeant Nader Mubarak Eisa Soliman, who were martyred in Yemen, have been buried by their families.

The General Command of the Armed Forces announced that the two died while performing their duty as part of Operation Restoring Hope, being conducted by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition to support and restore the legitimate government of Yemen to power.

The UAE is a member of the coalition which has fought a near two-year campaign against the Iran-allied Houthis.

According to Abdullah, Al Dhohouri’s brother, the serviceman was delighted to return to Yemen after returning home from a nine-month tour of duty.

A week after cutting his leave short for redeployment he fell in combat. News of the 33-year-old’s death reached his family on Friday morning.

“He had finished his service and they summoned him again while he was on a 10-day holiday,” said Abdullah, who saw his brother a week ago.

“He said: ‘This is a joy for me’. He left feeling very proud and happy. He said: ‘If I become a martyr it is better’.”

Abdullah said: “He called his wife on Saturday to tell he arrived in Yemen, and after that we did not hear from him. When we tried calling, his phone was switched off.”

Abdullah, a year Al Dhohouri’s junior, said his brother was full of warrior’s spirit and enthusiasm.

“Whenever he received a call telling him his flight was today he became very happy.”

Al Dhohouri joined the army after high school in 2000, and has served with the Armed Forces’ humanitarian missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and Jordan, before joining coalition operations in Yemen in 2016.

“He never spoke about what he came across during the war (in Yemen). He used to say these are military secrets, but he always used to say: ‘may Allah grant them patience’,” said Abdullah.

Al Dhohouri is survived by his parents, six brothers, wife and daughter, 10, and son, 8. Half of his brothers are in the army or police force.

The UAE also mourned Sergeant Nader Mubarak Eisa Soliman, 45, who died of a heart attack in his sleep.

On Thursday, Soliman’s wife was the last family member to speak to him.

He called her at 2am and told her “I’m trying to come back quickly, I want to see you all”, said his brother Eisa.

“He then told her he would rest and call her the next day.”

After Fajr prayers, Soliman retired to his bunk.

“Next morning, his colleagues did not want to wake him up at first because they felt he was tired from being on duty the whole day before.”

However, when they attempted to rouse him up later they discovered he was dead.

Soliman had two sons and three daughters. His eldest child is 22 and the youngest is five years old.

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The National