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Yemen: Death toll from Aden airport blasts rises to 22

31st Dec 2020
Yemen: Death toll from Aden airport blasts rises to 22

By Halime Afra Aksoy, Laith Al-jnaidi, Safiye Karabacak and Zehra Nur Duz

 

ADEN, Yemen/ISTANBUL/ANKARA (AA): At least 22 people were killed in three explosions that rocked the airport in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden on Wednesday soon after the newly formed government members arrived in the temporary capital.

At least 50 others were injured in the attacks, the Yemeni Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Among the casualties were civilians, airport workers, and officials present in the area to greet Cabinet members, the statement also said.

Members of the Yemeni government survived the attack without injuries, it added.

A Yemeni security source, who preferred anonymity, told Anadolu Agency that the blasts targeted the VIP lounge at the airport, which is under the control of the anti Government Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces.

Meanwhile, an Anadolu Agency correspondent reported that all the members of the Yemeni government arrived at the presidential palace of Maasheeq in Aden, without any of them being injured in the blasts.

Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, for his part, confirmed in a tweet that “the members of the government are in Aden and everyone is fine.”

“The cowardly terrorist act that targeted the Aden airport is part of the war being waged against the Yemeni state and our great people.

“This act will only boast our determination to carry out our duties until the end of the coup [carried out by the Houthi group in 2014] and the restoration of the state and stability,” the premier said.

Information Minister Moammar Al-Eryani, meanwhile, accused the Houthi rebel group of staging the attack.

“The cowardly terrorist attack carried out by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia at the Aden airport will not deter us from carrying out our national duty,” the minister said on Twitter.

The Houthi [Ansar Allah] group denied the accusations in a statement.

International condemnations

Condemnations poured in from the international community late on Wednesday over the attack on Aden Airport.

The UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said on Twitter that the “unacceptable act of violence” was a reminder of the “importance of bringing Yemen urgently back on the path towards peace.”

Extending his condolences and solidarity to all who lost loved ones, Griffiths said: “I wish the Cabinet strength in facing the difficult tasks ahead.”

Also taking to Twitter, the British Ambassador to Yemen said the attack represented a “despicable attempt to cause carnage chaos and bring suffering when Yemenis had chosen to move forward together.”

Michael Aron condoled with the families of those killed and injured.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the country was determined to support Yemen restore security and stability.

In the statement, it also underlined that it would help counter terrorism and its supporters in the war-torn country.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen Mohamed Al Jabir also weighed in on Twitter, saying that targeting the country’s government upon its arrival at Aden airport was a cowardly act of terrorism targeting all Yemenis and their security, stability and daily life.

For its part, Jordan stressed in a statement by its Foreign Ministry spokesman, Dhaifallah Fayez, that it opposed all forms of terrorism and violence that undermine security and stability, aiming to thwart efforts for the development and well-being of the Yemeni people.

Pakistan also “strongly” condemned the attack, extending its “sincere” condolences on the loss of lives.

“We believe this attack was not just condemnable as an act of senseless violence and terrorism, it was also reprehensible as an attempt to undermine the recent efforts by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and its positive results, that aimed at fostering enhanced peace and security in Yemen,” said a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

Pakistan urged the international community to ensure respect for the “territorial integrity of Yemen and to support efforts aimed at promoting peace and security in the country.”

Yemen’s new Cabinet was formed under the Riyadh agreement between the Yemeni government and the STC, which is backed by the United Arab Emirates.

The deal was signed in November 2019 under the sponsorship of the Saudi-led coalition, putting an end to military clashes between forces of both parties.

Yemen has fallen into civil war in 2014 when Iran-backed Houthi rebels overran much of northern provinces, including the capital Sanaa.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the conflict in Yemen has so far claimed the lives of 233,000 people.

* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat and Zehra Nur Duz

[Photo: Three explosions occurred at Aden Airport as Yemeni cabinet members arrived in the country. Photographer: AA]

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