There were reports of several explosions hitting Yemen’s Aden airport on Wednesday, a few minutes after the new unity government arrived from Saudi Arabia. A government spokesman placed the death toll at 22, with scores of other people injured. Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalek said all his cabinet members are safe and sound.
It is yet to be established if a missile fired into the airport had caused the terrible explosions. The spokesman said investigations are ongoing to establish the source of the attacks. However, Saudi authorities have accused Houthi rebels backed by Iran as being behind the attacks. The group is yet to claim responsibility for the attacks.
Col. Turki Al-Malki, the spokesman for the coalition, said that it intercepted a drone, allegedly owned by Houthis, which had been loaded with explosives. Al-Malki confirmed that the drone was destined for the presidential Al-Maashiq Palace in Aden.
Al-Malki said that the attempt on the lives of the members of the Yemeni cabinet was a ploy to nullify the Riyadh agreement, which has been adopted by the Yemeni people as a unifying factor and that sought to bring the much-needed peace, security, and stability to Yemen. Al-Malki was quoted as saying that the agreement was the only way forward towards reaching a comprehensive political solution to the imbroglio in Yemen.
Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al Eryani also accused the Houthi rebels as the mastermind of Wednesday’s attack. Just before the attack occurred, a lot of people had turned up in the airport to receive the new government that was inaugurated in Saudi Arabia last week.
The Red Cross confirmed the death of one of its staff; and while three got injured, the whereabouts of two others cannot be confirmed as of yet. The Red Cross said its staff was within the airport vicinity when the attacks occurred. It stated that it was indeed a bad day for its organization and the Yemeni people. The Red Cross extended its condolences to the families of the victims and wishing the injured a speedy bounce back to health.
Several footages has emerged of the moment the blast occurred. A deafening sound was heard before gunshots followed. Smoke could be seen coming out from the building housing the airport’s terminal. A quick look through the airport showed a large hole that had been created by the blast, and there were also damages to the airport hall.
Yemeni Prime Minister said in a statement that the cowardly act of terror at Aden only showed the targeted war against Yemen and its people. Abdulmalek reiterated that instead of cowing the state into submission, the act only strengthened the government’s resolve to restore peace and stability to Yemen and end the siege on its people.
The United Nations Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, reacted to Wednesday’s explosion. Using his Twitter handle, Griffith condemned the attack in its entirety and wished the government renewed strength in handling the difficult tasks ahead. He noted that the attack was unacceptable and a painful reminder of why Yemen should be brought back to the days of peace.
The United States threw its weight behind the new Yemeni government and said it stood with the Yemeni people. Only last week, a unity government was formed by the secession-seeking Southern Transitional Council and the existing government, backed by Saudi Arabia. A power-sharing arrangement had been announced between both parties.
Yemen has long been the center of a civil war that has cost the country thousands of lives and rendered as refugees, many of its citizens in neighboring countries.