AP: Explosions in Yemen’s Aden Airport
ADEN – (AP)
Explosions 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 16 people were killed and 60 were wounded in the blast.
The source of the blasts was not immediately clear and no group claimed responsibility for attacking the airport.
AP footage from the scene showed members of the government delegation disembarking as a first blast shook the grounds. No one on the government plane was hurt but many ministers rushed back inside the plane or ran down the stairs, seeking shelter.
Others could be seen running across the tarmac as a second explosion struck. Thick smoke rose into the air from near the terminal building.
Yemeni Communication Minister Naguib al-Awg, who was also on the government plane, told The Associated Press that he heard two explosions, suggesting they were drone attacks.
Officials at the scene said they saw bodies lying on the tarmac and elsewhere at the airport.
Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed and the others were quickly whisked away from the airport to the Mashiq Palace in the city.
Mohammed al-Roubid, deputy head of Aden’s health office, told the AP that at least 16 people were killed in the explosion and 60 were wounded.
The ministers were returning to Aden after being sworn in last week as part of a reshuffle following a deal with rival southern separatists. Yemen’s internationally recognized government has worked mostly from self-imposed exile in the Saudi capital of Riyadh during the country’s years-long civil war.
Yemen’s embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, in exile in Saudi Arabia, announced a Cabinet reshuffle earlier this month.
The reshuffle was seen as a major step toward closing a dangerous rift between Hadi’s government and southern separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates. The Saudi-backed government is at war with with Iran-allied Houthi rebels, who control most of northern Yemen as well as the country’s capital, Sanaa.
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.