Blasts at Yemen Airport Said to Kill 30 as New Cabinet Lands
(Bloomberg) -- Multiple explosions and gunfire rocked Yemen’s Aden airport on Wednesday as a new cabinet flew in from its refuge in Saudi Arabia, killing about 30 people and wounding 60, according to the Al-Masdar news website.
Al-Masdar said a deputy minister of public works was killed, and two other vice ministers were wounded in the attack in the southern port city, which Al-Hadath TV said took place as cabinet members prepared to step off the plane. They had returned to Aden amid a heavy security presence and were whisked to their headquarters at the presidential palace after the assault.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said one of its people was killed and three were wounded while transiting through the airport. Two others were unaccounted for.
President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi blamed Iran-backed Houthi rebels who have been fighting the government since 2014, and vowed that violence won’t deter the government from working to normalize life in the war-battered nation and end its civil war, the Saba news agency reported. No one claimed responsibility.
A blast was later heard near the presidential palace after the cabinet was taken there. The Saudi-led military coalition that’s been trying to restore Hadi to power said it intercepted a Houthi drone trying to target the compound.
The United Nations’ special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, who has led unsuccessful efforts to end the devastating civil war, called the attack “a tragic reminder of the importance of bringing Yemen urgently back on the path towards peace.”
The formation of the cabinet had been hailed as a cementing of the fragile detente between the government of the exiled Hadi and the separatist Southern Transitional Council, allies in the fight to dislodge rebels who control the capital, Sana’a’, and other chunks of the country. Their alliance frayed last year after separatists seized control of Aden and other southern cities, but was mended under a power-sharing deal brokered by Saudi Arabia.
Hadi’s government, which had fled to Aden after the fall of Sana’a, has been living in exile in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, since the clashes with council forces last year. The country is in the throes of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, fed by the Saudi-led coalition’s five-year attempt to crush the rebellion and prevent the establishment of a Shiite-ruled state sympathetic to Iran on the Arabian peninsula.
Yemen is strategically significant because it lies on a waterway linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden that is a conduit for much of the world’s oil.
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