BLASTS HIT YEMEN’S ADEN AIRPORT AS NEW UNITY GOVERNMENT ARRIVES

BLASTS HIT YEMEN’S ADEN AIRPORT AS NEW UNITY GOVERNMENT ARRIVES

Aden airport struck by large explosion shortly after plane carrying the new Yemeni government arrives from Saudi Arabia.

A large explosion struck the airport in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Wednesday, shortly after a plane carrying the newly formed Saudi-backed cabinet landed there, security officials said.

Yemen’s Interior Ministry said least 22 people were killed and 50 were wounded in the blast.

The source of the explosion was not immediately clear and no group claimed responsibility for attacking the airport. No one on the government plane was hurt.

Hours after the attack, a second explosion was heard around Aden’s Maasheq presidential palace where the cabinet members including Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik, as well as the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, had been taken to safely, residents and local media said.

It was unclear what caused the second blast and there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Abdulmalik condemned the airport attack as “treacherous” and “cowardly”.

“This treacherous, cowardly, and terrorist attack, places the government at the heart of its responsibilities, which is the task of ending the coup, restoring the state, spreading stability and the recovery of our country,” Abdulmalik said.

An AFP correspondent at the airport said he heard two explosions. “At least two explosions were heard as the cabinet members were leaving the aircraft,” the correspondent said.

Saudi state television Ekhbaria showed destroyed vehicles and smashed glass. Plumes of white smoke rose from the scene.

Yemen’s Information Minister Moammar Al-Eryani blamed the attack on the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, adding that all the members of the government were safe.

“We assure our great people that members of the government are fine, and we assure you that the cowardly terrorist attack by the Iran-supported Huthi militia will not deter us from carrying out our patriotic duty,” he said on Twitter.

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