Thursday 31 December 2020

Yemen airport attacked as new Government arrives

At least 22 people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in an attack at Sanaa International Airport (IATA: SAH, ICAO: OYSN) 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. 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". The attack occurred just before a plane carrying several cabinet officials landed. The cabinet’s formation was supposed to be a step toward resolving Yemen’s civil war. No cabinet ministers appeared to have been injured, two black S.U.V.s quickly arrived to speed them to the presidential palace in Aden. Within hours, however, the local news media reported explosions at the complex, throwing the situation into further confusion. The formation of the new cabinet was supposed to be a step toward resolving one of the entangled conflicts that make up Yemen’s civil war, which has killed tens of thousands of civilians and brought the country into what aid groups have called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. “The hand of terror will not stop us from performing our tasks,” Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed said in a brief televised statement, calling on the government to stay in Aden and perform its duties. Video recorded by journalists who were at the airport to cover the cabinet members’ arrival showed dignitaries lined up to greet the ministers when an explosion went off, sending white smoke billowing across the tarmac and people running in all directions. A Yemenia airline official who was at the airport said the arrivals hall had been full of official delegations there to receive the cabinet members when the explosion rocked the hall. Another explosion occurred a few minutes later, close to the first, he said, followed by a third near the runway. The airport is shared with a large military base with several fighter jets and transport aircraft of the Yemeni Air Force.

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