Sixteen killed as blast hits Yemeni airport shortly after government plane lands.

A large explosion has struck the airport in the southern Yemeni city of Aden, 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 blast was not immediately clear and no group claimed responsibility for attacking the airport.

Associated Press (AP) footage from the scene showed members of the government delegation disembarking as the 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.

Officials at the scene said they saw bodies lying on the ground and elsewhere at the airport.

Yemeni communication minister Naguib al-Awg, who was also on the government plane, told the AP that he heard two explosions, suggesting they were drone attacks.

Yemeni prime minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed and the others were quickly whisked away from the airport to the Mashiq Palace in the city.

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

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.

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 was trying to help another man whose clothes were torn to get up from the ground.

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, condemned the explosion as an “unacceptable act of violence”.

He said in a tweet that the attack was “a tragic reminder of the importance of bringing #Yemen urgently back on the path towards peace”.

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 recognised government has worked mostly from self-imposed exile in the Saudi capital 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 towards closing a dangerous rift between Mr Hadi’s government and southern separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Saudi-backed government is at war 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 powersharing deal between the Saudi-backed Mr 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 Mr Hadi’s government in the port city, which was a scene of bloody fighting between forces of the internationally recognised government and the UAE-backed separatists.

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.

Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been engulfed in civil war since 2014, when the Shiite Houthi rebels overran the north and Sanaa.

The following year, a Saudi-led military coalition intervened to wage war on the Houthis and restore Mr Hadi’s government to power.

The war has killed more than 112,000, including thousands of civilians.

The conflict also resulted in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. – AP

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Related news
Inauguration security ramps up, over 300 people face charges in Capitol riot: Part 2.

Inauguration security ramps up, over 300 people face charges in Capitol riot: Part 2.

Over 100 people involved in the attack have already been arrested. As lawmakers face threats of violence, the FBI says there's now a "substantial threat" of improvised explosive devices.

Armin Laschet elected head of Merkel's CDU party - DW News.

Armin Laschet elected head of Merkel's CDU party - DW News.

Germany's governing CDU party has chosen Armin Laschet as its new party leader. Party members elected Laschet in an online convention. He is now in a strong position to become the Christian conservatives' candidate in general elections held later ...

DC police officers recount violence, lawmakers demand Capitol security probe: Part 1.

DC police officers recount violence, lawmakers demand Capitol security probe: Part 1.

MPD officers Daniel Hodges and Mike Fanone were attacked with their own weapons in the riot. Some lawmakers demand details into "suspicious behavior and access given to visitors" on the day before.

COVID-19: Prime Minister suspends quarantine-free travel in the UK from Monday.

COVID-19: Prime Minister suspends quarantine-free travel in the UK from Monday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnsons suspends quarantine-free travel in the UK from Monday with arrivals needing proof of a negative Covid test before setting off. The Chief Executive of Airlines UK has accepted the decision to rescind travel corridors, ...

Capitol Rioters Wanted To Capture, kill Lawmakers, Prosecutors Say - NBC News NOW.

Capitol Rioters Wanted To Capture, kill Lawmakers, Prosecutors Say - NBC News NOW.

NBC News Tom Winter reports on a case filed in Arizona that states there is "strong evidence" showing rioters intended to capture and kill lawmakers. Justice Department officials saying they have yet to see direct evidence of that intent. » Subscr...

BREAKING: Yoweri Museveni declared winner of Uganda presidential election.

BREAKING: Yoweri Museveni declared winner of Uganda presidential election.

Yoweri Museveni has been declared the winner of the Uganda presidential election with 58.64% of the total votes, according to the country's electoral commission. The incumbent will now serve a sixth term as president of the east African nation fol...