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Blast at Aden airport kills 25, wounds 110


SANAA, #Yemen (AP) — A large explosion struck the airport in the southern #Yemeni city of #Aden on #Wednesday, shortly after a plane carrying the newly formed #Cabinet landed there, security officials said. #At least 25 people were killed and 110 wounded in the blast.

#Yemen’s internationally recognized government said #Iran-backed #Houthi rebels fired four ballistic missiles at the airport. #Rebel officials did not answer phone calls from The #Associated #Press seeking comment. #No one on the government plane was hurt.

#Officials later reported another explosion close to a palace in the city where the #Cabinet members were transferred following the airport attack. The #Saudi-led coalition later shot down a bomb-laden drone that attempted to target the palace, according to #Saudi-owned #Al-Arabiya TV channel.

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The #Cabinet reshuffle was seen as a major step toward closing a dangerous rift between the government of embattled #Yemeni #President #Abed #Rabbo #Mansour #Hadi, and southern separatists backed by the #United #Arab #Emirates. #Hadi’s government and the separatists are nominal allies in #Yemen’s years-long civil war that pits the #Saudi-led, U.S.-backed military coalition against the #Houthis, who control most of northern #Yemen as well as the country’s capital, #Sanaa.

AP footage from the scene at the airport showed members of the government delegation disembarking as the blast shook the grounds. #Many ministers rushed back inside the plane or ran down the stairs, seeking shelter.

#Thick smoke rose into the air from near the terminal building. #Officials at the scene said they saw bodies lying on the tarmac and elsewhere at the airport.

#Yemeni #Communication #Minister #Naguib al-Awg, who was on the plane, told the AP that he heard two explosions, suggesting they were drone attacks. #Prime #Minister #Maeen #Abdulmalik #Saeed and the others were quickly whisked from the airport to the #Mashiq #Palace.

#Military and security forces sealed off the area around the the palace.

“It would have been a disaster if the plane was bombed,” al-Awg said, insisting the plane was the target of the attack as it was supposed to land earlier.

#Prime #Minister #Saeed tweeted that he and his #Cabinet were safe and unhurt. #He called the explosions a “cowardly terrorist act” that was part of the war on “the #Yemeni state and our great people.”

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#Foreign #Minister #Ahmed #Awad #Bin #Mubarak blamed the #Houthis for the attacks. #His ministry said in a statement later that the rebels fired four ballistic missiles at the airport, and launched drone attacks at the palace, the #Cabinet’s headquarters. They did not provide evidence.

#Health #Minister #Qasem #Buhaibuh said the attacks at the airport killed least 25 people and wounded 110 others.

#Images shared on social media from the scene showed rubble and broken glass strewn about near the airport building and at least two lifeless bodies, one of them charred, lying on the ground. #In another image, a man tries to help another man whose clothes were torn to get up from the ground.

The #International #Committee of the #Red #Cross said three of its workers were killed in the airport blast: two #Yemeni nationals and a #Rwandan.

“This is a tragic day for the ICRC and for the people of #Yemen,” said #Dominik #Stillhart, ICRC’s director of operations.

#Yemeni #Belqees television said its report #Adeeb al-Ganabi was also killed in the airport blast.

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U.N. special envoy for #Yemen, #Martin #Griffiths, condemned the explosion as an “unacceptable act of violence.” #He said in a tweet that it was “a tragic reminder of the importance of bringing ##Yemen urgently back on the path towards peace.”

#Anwar #Gargash, the #United #Arab #Emirates’ minister of state for foreign affairs, said the attack on #Aden’s airport was meant to destroy the power-sharing deal between #Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the southern separatists.

U.S. #Ambassador in #Yemen #Christopher #Henzel said the U.S. condemned the attacks in #Aden. “We stand with the #Yemeni people as they strive for peace, and we support the new #Yemeni #Government as it works towards a better future for all #Yemenis,” he said.

#Egypt, #Jordan and other #Arab and #Western nations also condemned the airport attack. #Information #Minister #Moammer al-Iryani said at least 10 other journalists were wounded.

The #Yemeni ministers were returning to #Aden from the #Saudi capital, #Riyadh, after being sworn in last week as part of a reshuffle following a deal with the separatists. #Yemen’s internationally recognized government has worked mostly from self-imposed exile in #Riyadh during the country’s years-long civil war.

The #Saudi ambassador to #Yemen, #Mohammed al-Jaber, described the attack as a “cowardly terrorist act targeting the #Yemeni people, their security and stability.”

#Despite “the disappointment and confusion caused by those who create death and destruction,” the peace agreement between the government and southern separatists “will go forward,” he said.

#Hadi, in exile in #Saudi #Arabia, announced the #Cabinet reshuffle earlier this month.

#Naming a new government was part of a power-sharing deal between the #Saudi-backed #Hadi and the #Emirati-backed separatist #Southern #Transitional #Council, an umbrella group of militias seeking to restore an independent southern #Yemen, which existed from 1967 until unification in 1990.

The blast underscores the dangers facing #Hadi’s government in the port city, the scene of bloody fighting between forces of the internationally recognized government and the UAE-backed separatists.

#In a video message posted on his #Twitter account later, #Saeed, the #Yemeni prime minister, said his government was in #Aden “to stay.” The city has been the seat of #Hadi’s government since #Houthi rebels overran the capital #Sanaa in 2014.

#Last year, the #Houthis fired a missile at a military parade of newly graduated fighters of a militia loyal to the UAE at a military base in #Aden, killing dozens.

#In 2015, then-Yemeni #Prime #Minister #Khaled #Bahah and members of his government survived a missile attack, blamed on the #Houthis, on an #Aden hotel used by the government.

#Yemen, the #Arab world’s poorest country, has been engulfed in civil war since 2014, when the #Houthis overran the north and #Sanaa. The following year, a #Saudi-led military coalition intervened to wage war on the #Houthis and to restore #Hadi’s government to power.

The war has killed more than 112,000 people and brought about the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

___

#Magdy reported from #Cairo. #Associated #Press writer #Maggie #Michael in #Cairo contributed to this report.



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https://apnews.com/article/yemen-middle-east-cabinets-sanaa-9fdc085dab7abb0a0f9888158be5ab0d

##Blast ##Aden #airport #kills #wounds

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