Yemen Airport Attack Leaves at Least 22 Dead

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There was a bombing attack at the Aden airport in Yemen on Dec. 30, 2020. According to a Reuters source, the attack happened shortly after an aircraft — carrying Yemen’s newly formed government Cabinet members — landed Wednesday morning.

Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed was among the passengers aboard the plane that landed. They were all quickly whisked away to the Mashiq Palace located in the city. According to WMC5, due to the explosion, at least 22 people were killed and 50 people injured.

The Second Attempted Attack

At first, the source of — and the reason behind — the explosion was unknown. The person or group behind the attack was also a mystery. However, soon after the Cabinet members arrived at the Mashiq Palace another explosion erupted — nearby.

According to a Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV channel, a Saudi-led coalition shot down a drone carrying a bomb later that day. The coalition stated the drone attempted to target the palace.

The Cabinet reshuffle has been viewed as a major step towards closing a rift that is happening in the Yemen government. Footage of the scene has been viewed all across the world. People watched as the government delegation disembarked off the plane as the blast shook the grounds.

Many of the ministers rushed down the stairs or back inside the plane seeking shelter. Thick smoke could be seen rising into the air near the terminal building. According to authorities on the scene, they saw bodies lying on the tarmac and other places at the airport.

Naguib al-Awg, the Yemeni Communication Minister, told the AP that he had heard two explosions. It is suggested the attacks were drone-related.

Security forces and the military sealed off the surrounding area near the palace. al-Awg insists that the drone was targeting the plane — which was supposed to land earlier in the day.

Views About the Attack

Yemen’s Prime Minister Saeed tweeted that his Cabinet and he was safe and unhurt. He further stated that the bombing was a “cowardly terrorist act.” Adding the attack was a part of the war on “the Yemeni state and our great people.”

The Houthis have been blamed for the attack by the Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak. In a later statement, his ministry revealed that the rebels fired four ballistic missiles at the airport. Then they believe the rebels launched drone attacks at the palace.

Yemen’s Health Minister Qasem Buhaibuh tweeted that the airport attack killed at least 25 people and wounded 110 individuals. The Health Minister suggested that the death toll could increase due to the injuries some of the victims acquired.

Disturbing images flooded the internet after the airport attack. Broken glass and rubble can be seen everywhere. In at least one image charred lifeless bodies can be viewed. Other images show victims helping one another.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, three of their workers were killed in the incident. Two were Yemen nationals and the other was from Rwanda. They further announced that three other workers were injured during the blast.

International Committee of the Red Cross’ director, Dominik Stillhart, said:

This is a tragic day for the ICRC and for the people of Yemen.

According to Yemeni Belqees TV, their reporter Adeeb al-Ganabi was one of the victims killed in the explosion. The Information Minister Moammer al-Iryani revealed at least 10 other journalists were injured.

Condemning the  Attack

Deputy Spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres — Farhan Haq — said “Secretary-General condemns the deplorable attack on Aden airport shortly after the arrival of the newly formed Yemeni cabinet, which killed and wounded dozens of people.”

This feeling has been shared by the United Arab Emirates’ minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash. Gargash stated the attack on the airport was meant to destroy the power-sharing deal between the southern separatists and Yemen’s internationally recognized government.

The United States Ambassador in Yemen — Christopher Henzel — condemned the attack on the Aden airport. He further added that the U.S. government stands “with the Yemeni people as they strive for peace.”

The attack was also condemned by Jordan, Egypt, Western nations, and Arab countries. Despite the terror, the people — or person — responsible for the attack “the peace agreement will go forward.”

Earlier this month the Cabinet reshuffle was announced by Hadi — which is in exile in Saudi Arabia. Part of the power-sharing deal between the Saudi-backed Hadi and the Emirati-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council — is naming a new government for Yemen.

Written by Sheena Robertson

WMC5: Yemeni officials: Blast at Aden airport kills 25, wounds 110; by AHMED AL-HAJ and SAMY MAGDY

The Wall Street Journal: Yemen Airport Attack Kills 22 as New Saudi-Backed Government Arrives; by Jared Malsin and Saleh al-Batati

BBC: Yemen war: Deadly attack at Aden airport as new government arrives

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Frans Zwart’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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