20 dead as massive explosions rock Yemen airport

Three massive explosions struck the Aden airport in Yemen just minutes after the arrival of a new power-sharing government from Saudi Arabia, leaving at least 20 people dead, according to local officials.

An official of Aden’s local government told Xinhua news agency that “nearly 20 people, mostly civilians, were killed and more than 65 others left injured as a result of the airport’s explosions” on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

He said that many of the injured people were transferred to different local hospitals in the southern port city of Aden.

Three coordinated explosions struck the main halls of the Aden International Airport as scores of local officials were gathering to welcome members of the new power-sharing government arriving from Saudi Arabia.

All members of the new power-sharing government including the country’s Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik were transferred safely to the presidential palace following the blasts that occurred while their plane was just landing.

Most of the killed and injured were civilians who were waiting at the airport hall before their departure flights, according to the local sources.

Heavy security forces backed by armoured Saudi vehicles were deployed and blocked roads leading to the airport’s main gates following the explosions.

Taking to Twitter, Minister of Information and Culture Muammar Al-Earyani accused the Houthi rebels of being behind this attack.

“The cowardly terrorist attack by Iran-backed Houthi militia on Aden airport will not deter us from our duty,” said the Minister who was on the plane when the explosions took place.

He confirmed that all government members are safe.

The Ministers of the new power-sharing government, in addition to the prime minister, were sworn in last week by Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh.

Earlier this month, Hadi issued a decree to form a new power-sharing government in Yemen led by Saeed, a move that received regional and international welcome.

The new government consisted of 24 ministerial portfolios, divided equally between the northern and southern provinces in Yemen.

The new Yemeni government was established in accordance with the terms of the Riyadh Peace Agreement jointly signed in November 2019 between the Yemeni government and the leaders of the Southern Transitional Council (STC).

In 2019, Saudi Arabia persuaded the STC and the Yemeni government to hold reconciliation talks, which resulted in a deal to form a new technocratic cabinet of no more than 24 ministers.

But numerous obstacles have stood in the way of implementing the deal, which excluded the Houthi rebels who are still controlling the capital Sanaa and other northern provinces of the war-torn Arab country.

The impoverished Arab country has been locked in a civil war since late 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country and seized all northern regions including Sanaa.