Israel's president has spoken at Dubai's Expo 2020 on the first presidential visit to the United Arab Emirates, after the Gulf state said it had intercepted a missile fired by Houthi rebels.

Herzog landed in UAE capital Abu Dhabi on Sunday where he discussed security and bilateral relations.
Herzog landed in UAE capital Abu Dhabi on Sunday where he discussed security and bilateral relations. (Reuters)

Israel's president has spoken at Dubai's Expo 2020 world fair on the first presidential visit to the United Arab Emirates, hours after the Gulf state said it had intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen's Houthis.

"I hope and I believe that more and more nations will soon follow the UAE lead and join the Abraham Accords," Isaac Herzog said at an event on Monday amid tighter than usual security at the Expo site.

The UAE became the first Gulf state to normalise relations with Israel under a US-brokered normalisation agreement, dubbed the "Abraham Accords", in 2020. Gulf neighbour Bahrain followed.

Herzog said 250,000 Israelis had so far visited the UAE and he hoped Emiratis would reciprocate once Covid-19 restrictions eased.

"Already our trade has exceeded over $1 billion, more than 120 agreements were signed and a $100 million (research and development) fund was established recently," he said in a speech at the six-month-long world fair in Dubai emirate. 

UAE and Israeli flags were raised at the event and both countries' national anthems played.

READ MORE: Israeli president seeks to strengthen Gulf ties in landmark visit to UAE 

Houthi attack

Iran, who severed ties with Israel after the 1979 revolution, condemned the normalisation of ties between Israel and Arab countries.

"Some countries who are walking down the normalisation path and thus helping this regime create more crises, must be aware that they will be the first victims of the aggressive, expansionist and crisis-making nature of this regime," warned Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry.

Herzog landed in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on Sunday where he discussed security and bilateral relations with the UAE's de facto leader.

That night, at 20 minutes past midnight, the UAE said it intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen's Houthi group — the third such attack on US-allied UAE in the past fortnight.

UAE authorities did not say whether the missile was aimed at Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

READ MORE: UAE 'destroys' Houthi ballistic missile as Israel's Herzog visits

Source: Reuters