Blasts hit Yemen’s Aden airport as new unity government arrives

Blasts and gunfire were heard after a plane carrying the new Yemeni government arrived from Saudi Arabia.

epa08910979 (FILE) – Southern militiamen loyal to Yemen’s President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi control Aden International Airport following clashes with Houthi fighters in the southern port city of Aden, Yemen, 14 July 2015 (reissued 30 December 2020). An explosion at Aden Airport was reported on 30 December 2020 after members of the new government landed at the airport. EPA-EFE/STRINGER

Loud blasts and gunfire were heard at Aden’s airport shortly after a plane carrying the newly formed Yemeni government arrived from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, witnesses said.

The cabinet members, including Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik, were transferred safely to the city’s presidential palace, the witnesses and Saudi media said.

“The number of casualties has not been confirmed yet but sources said the explosions were powerful,” Al Jazeera’s Mohammed al-Attab, reporting from Sanaa, said.

Security sources told Reuters news agency that at least five people have been dead and dozens more injured in the attack.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said he heard two explosions. “At least two explosions were heard as the cabinet members were leaving the aircraft,” the correspondent said.

Saudi state television Ekhbaria showed destroyed vehicles and smashed glass. Plumes of white smoke rose from the scene.

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Yemen’s internationally recognized government and southern separatists formed a new power-sharing cabinet on December 18 and arrived in the southern city of Aden on Wednesday, days after being sworn in Saudi Arabia.

The new government was formed under the auspices of Riyadh, which leads a military coalition against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who took control of the capital Sanaa in 2014.

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The formation of the new 24-member cabinet, which was sworn in on Saturday by Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, forges a joint front against the fighters who have seized much of the north.

Hadi has lived in the Saudi-capital Riyadh since Sanaa fell to the Houthis.

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Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced in Yemen’s grinding five-year war, which has triggered what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

The new government includes ministers loyal to Hadi and supporters of the secessionist Southern Transitional Council (STC), as well as other parties.

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While all oppose Houthi forces, deep divisions have grown between the forces and the Riyadh-sponsored push to form the unity government was designed to mend rifts.

Agencies / Balkantimes.press

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