Monday, January 25

Yemen: At least 16 dead and 60 injured in explosion at Aden airport


A large explosion hit the airport in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Wednesday.

The blast came shortly after a plane carrying the newly formed cabinet landed there, security officials said.

Mohammed al-Roubid, deputy chief of the Aden health bureau, told the AP that at least 16 people were killed in the blast and 60 were injured.

The source of the blast was not immediately clear, and no group claimed responsibility for the attack on the airport.

Footage from the scene showed members of the government delegation disembarking as the explosion shook the surroundings.

No one on the government plane was injured, but many ministers rushed back to the plane or ran down the stairs for cover.

Thick smoke rose into the air from near the terminal building. Officials at the scene said they saw bodies dumped on the runway and elsewhere at the airport.

Yemen’s Communications Minister Naguib along, who was also on the government plane, told The Associated Press that he heard two explosions.

Images shared on social media from the scene showed debris and broken glass strewn around the airport building.

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, condemned the explosion as an “unacceptable act of violence.”

He said in a tweet that it was “a tragic reminder of the importance of urgently returning # Yemen to the path of peace.”

The ministers were returning to Aden after being sworn in last week as part of a shakeup following a deal with rival separatists in the south.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government has worked primarily from self-imposed exile in the Saudi capital of Riyadh during the country’s years of civil war.

Yemen’s embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, in exile in Saudi Arabia, announced a cabinet shakeup earlier this month.

The shakeup was seen as an important step in closing a dangerous rift between the Hadi government and the UAE-backed separatists in the south.

The Saudi-backed government is at war with Iran’s allied Houthi rebels, who control most of northern Yemen and the country’s capital Sanaa.

Naming a new government was part of a power-sharing agreement between Hadi, backed by Saudi Arabia, and the Emirati-backed Separatist Southern Transitional Council, a group of militias seeking to restore an independent southern Yemen, which existed from 1967 until unification in 1990.

The explosion underscores the dangers faced by Hadi’s government in the port city, which was the scene of bloody fighting between internationally recognized government forces and UAE-backed separatists.

Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, has been embroiled in a civil war since 2014 when Shiite Houthi rebels invaded the north and Sanaa.

The following year, a Saudi-led military coalition intervened to wage war on the Houthis and restore power to the Hadi government.

The bloody war has killed more than 112,000, including thousands of civilians. The conflict also resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

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