SANAA, 31 December 2020, (TON): At least 26 people were killed on Wednesday as explosions rocked Yemen’s Aden airport moments after a new unity government flew in, in what some officials charged was a “cowardly” attack by Houthi rebels. Video footage released shows missile-like ordnance striking the airport apron.
Although all government ministers were reported to be unharmed, more than 50 people were wounded, medical and government sources said in the southern city, with the casualty toll feared likely to rise.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it was preparing a “mass casualty medical response plan”.
As smoke billowed out of the airport terminal from an initial blast, with debris strewn across the area and people rushing to tend to the wounded, a second explosion took place. Sporadic gunfire was heard soon after.
Yemen’s internationally recognised government and southern separatists formed a power-sharing cabinet on Dec 18, forging a joint front against the Houthi rebels who have seized Yemen’s capital Sanaa and much of the north.
“We assure our great people that members of the government are fine, and we assure you that the cowardly terrorist attack by the Iran-supported Houthi militia will not deter us from carrying out our patriotic duty,” Eryani said on Twitter.
Saeed tweeted that the “terrorist attack... was part of the war waged against Yemen and its people.”
Yemen’s government spokesman Rajih Badi called for an international investigation into the “terrorist” attack he said targeted “all members of the cabinet”.
“It is too soon to accuse any party before an investigation reveals who executed the attack, including (accusing) the Houthis,” he said, adding those injured included civilians, security guards and local officials.
Meanwhile, UN envoy Martin Griffiths condemned the attack on Twitter, calling it an “unacceptable act of violence”.
“I wish the cabinet strength in facing the difficult tasks ahead,” he said.
“This unacceptable act of violence is a tragic reminder of the importance of bringing Yemen urgently back on the path towards peace.” Michael Aron, the British ambassador to Yemen, also condemned the blasts.
“A despicable attempt to cause carnage and chaos and bring suffering when Yemenis had chosen to move forward together,” he said.
The cabinet members arrived in Aden days after being sworn in by Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi in Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition against the insurgents.
A statement issued by the Foreign Office’s spokesperson in Islamabad said: “Pakistan on Wednesday strongly condemned the terrorist attack at Aden airport in Yemen in which the cabinet members of the newly-formed government were targeted.
“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, aimed at fostering enhanced peace and security in Yemen.”
Pakistan urged the international community to ensure respect for territorial integrity of Yemen and to support efforts aimed at promoting peace and security in the country, the statement added.