In a tweet six hours later, Abu Dhabi police offered casualties – 64 with “slightly injured”, 56 with “moderate injuries” and two killed.
“The injured have been shifted to hospitals to get necessary healthcare, shops and facades of six buildings have been damaged,” police said. They described the investigation into the blast as ongoing.
The state-owned and state-affiliated media in Abu Dhabi also initially downplayed the blast, saying only the front of nearby shops were damaged. Abu Dhabi police have warned the public against sharing any footage of the aftermath of the blast in the country, including strict laws regarding speeches.
Meanwhile, authorities have threatened criminal charges against those who broadcast images of the attack in Yemen following a series of drone strikes by Houthi rebels in the capital.
The National, an English-language, state-affiliated newspaper in Abu Dhabi, described the blast at an unnamed restaurant just after 1pm on Monday near the local Landmark Shining Tower complex.
The United Arab Emirates, a federation of Sheikhdoms in the seven deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, experiences seasonal wildfires every summer due to the nation’s extreme heat. Monday’s temperature hit 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit)
In February, authorities said a similar gas cylinder explosion had raised concerns about the Houthi attack in the capital.
Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.