Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 December 2019

UAE Armed Forces announces death of Emirati serviceman

Tariq Al Baloushi, a first corporal, was part of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition

First Cpl Tariq Hussein Al Baloushi, 32, died during active service in Saudi Arabia. Courtesy Abdulrahman Al Shmaily
First Cpl Tariq Hussein Al Baloushi, 32, died during active service in Saudi Arabia. Courtesy Abdulrahman Al Shmaily

An Emirati soldier died in active service in Saudi Arabia, the UAE Armed Forces General Command said on Wednesday.

First Cpl Tariq Hussein Al Baloushi, 32, was serving with the UAE Armed Forces in Operation Decisive Storm and Operation Restore Hope, as part of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, in the southern town of Najran, on the border with Yemen.

His body arrived to a military ceremony at Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi aboard a UAE military plane on Thursday morning.

Funeral prayers were held at Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Ras Al Khaimah after dhuhr prayers before Al Baloushi was laid to rest in Al Ghub Cemetery.

Al Baloushi was father to three girls and one boy, 2.

The Emirati was an avid footballer, playing at Ras Al Khaimah Football Club for almost 20 years.

His friend, Abdulrahman Al Shmaily, told The National they grew up in Shamal, Ras Al Khaimah, together and were inseparable.

“He was like a brother to me and we used to do everything together,” said Mr Al Shmaily, 32.

“He was a very generous man who cares about his family and friends, kind and well-behaved person.”

He said he last saw Al Baloushi before he let for Saudi Arabia.

“We played football before he left two weeks ago and we had lots of fun together.

“I didn’t believe his death when one of my friends called me [on Wednesday] … and I still can't believe it.”

The pair joined RAK Football Club aged nine and played frequently until 2015 when they each “got jobs and had to leave,” Mr Al Shamily said.

“His favourite sport was football and he was good at it.”

People from across the country attended funeral prayers on Thursday, including Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, the emirate’s Crown Prince.

On Wednesday, Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, offered his condolences to Al Baloushi family.

"May Allah have mercy on the soul of the martyr Tariq Hussein Al Baloushi [who died] while performing his national service in Najran in the friendly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," Dr Gargash wrote in a tweet.

"We pray to Allah to show him forgiveness, grant him life in paradise and inspire his parents with patience and solace."

Updated: November 14, 2019 07:35 PM

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