Yemen war: Deadly attack at Aden airport

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Smoke and dust billowed from the terminal, close to the plane carrying cabinet ministers. Photo: REUTERS

Dailynewsun Desk:

At least 22 people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in an attack at the airport in the southern Yemeni city of Aden, officials say.

There was at least one explosion shortly after a plane carrying the war-torn country’s newly formed government arrived from neighbouring Saudi Arabia, reports BBC.

Aid workers and officials were among the casualties. But the prime minister said he and his cabinet were “fine”.

The information minister accused Houthi rebels of a “cowardly terrorist act”.

Yemen has been devastated by a conflict that escalated in 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states launched a military operation to defeat the Houthis and restore President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s rule.

The fighting has reportedly left more than 110,000 people dead; triggered the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, with millions on the brink of famine; and left the country even more vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A crowd that had gathered on the tarmac to welcome the ministers fled as thick smoke billowed from the airport terminal. The sound of gunfire was heard soon afterwards.

An AFP news agency correspondent reported hearing at least two blasts in total, as did Minister for International Co-operation Najeeb al-Awj.

The cause was not clear, but a security source told Reuters news agency that three mortar shells landed on the terminal.

Saudi television channel Al-Hadath meanwhile broadcast a video that it said showed a missile hitting the tarmac and exploding.

In August 2019, 36 people were killed in a Houthi missile attack on a military parade in Aden.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said three members of staff were killed in Wednesday’s attack, and three others were injured, including one seriously.

Their staff were transiting through the airport with other civilians, the organisation said in a statement.

Dominik Stillhart, ICRC’s director of operations, said: “The Yemeni people have endured a terrible amount of suffering over the last five years. A day like this adds even more grief both for the Red Cross family and for the Yemeni families who had loved ones killed or injured in this explosion.”

Yemeni news website Al-Masdar Online reported that an undersecretary at the labour ministry, Yasmin al-Awadhi, was killed and that Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport Moneer al-Wajeeh and Deputy Transport Minister Nasser Sharif were among the injured.