Yemen’s PM condemns ‘treacherous, cowardly’ Aden airport attack

Explosion at Aden airport came after plane carrying the new Yemeni government arrived from Saudi Arabia.

No one on the government plane was hurt but officials at the scene said they saw bodies lying on the tarmac and elsewhere at the airport [Fawaz Salman/Reuters]

Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik has condemned as “treacherous” and “cowardly” the deadly attack on Aden airport on Wednesday.

A large explosion struck the airport in the southern Yemeni city of Aden shortly after a plane carrying the newly formed cabinet landed there.

“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.

Yemen’s Interior Ministry said at least 22 people had been killed and 50 were wounded in the attack.

The source of the blast was not immediately clear and no group claimed responsibility for the explosion. 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 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.

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

The Houthis denied responsibility for the attack.

Here were the updates from Wednesday:

Attack on Aden airport indicative of Yemen’s ‘serious security vacuum’: Analyst

Mahjoob Zweiri, Director of the Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University, said the attack was indicative of the “serious security vacuum” that Yemen suffers from.

“This is a strong indicator that there is a serious security vacuum in Yemen and that it will not be filled only through a political process,” Zweiri told Al Jazeera.

“It is obvious that there is a need to have a strong military, so they can help stabilise the political process.”

“If you look at the number of personnel in the Yemeni armed forces, optimistic experts say they cannot exceed 120,000 in the whole of Yemen, some of whom have not been paid in months.”

Yemeni PM condemns attack on Aden airport as ‘treacherous, cowardly’

Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik has condemned as “treacherous” and “cowardly” the deadly attack on Aden airport on Wednesday.

“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.”

“The government will remain in Aden to carry out all its tasks and actions supported by the will of the Yemeni people, which is a solid will like our mountains.”

UAE’s Gargash: Attack meant to destroy power-sharing agreement

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

Translation: The targeting of Aden airport is the targeting of the Riyadh Agreement and the prospect of stability and peace in the brotherly [nation] of Yemen, incitement, sabotage, violence and terrorism will fail in the face of the project for peace led by the sisterly [nation of] Saudi Arabia for the good of Yemen and the region.

One ICRC staff member killed in Yemen airport attack, two unaccounted for

One staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross was killed in the attack on Aden airport, ICRC Yemen said on Twitter.

Two of its staff were unaccounted for and three were injured, it said.

Attack undermines new government’s authority: Analyst

Ibrahim Fraihat, associate professor of international conflict resolution at the Doha Institute, said the attack has seriously undermined the authority of the Yemeni government.

“This explosion sends a very strong message to the new unity government that was recently formed after almost one year of talks among all the parties,” Fraihat told Al Jazeera.

“But with the government’s arrival, and this happening, I think it sends the message that the challenges awaiting this government are very serious. No matter who stands behind the explosions, there’s been a huge security breach.”

Attack will complicate task of Yemen’s unity gov’t: Analyst

Afzal Ashraf, a defence analyst and assistant professor of international relations at the University of Nottingham, told Al Jazeera the attack does not bode well for Yemen’s newly formed cabinet.

“This cabinet was supposed to unite two factions that were initially supported by Saudi Arabia and then of course one of them split away and was supported by the United Arab Emirates,” Ashraf said, referring to the Saudi-backed government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the separatist Southern Transitional Council, supported by the UAE.

“This continues to fragment and complicate an already complex and unnecessarily difficult situation which is causing enormous distress to innocent civilians.”

Blast heard around Aden palace where cabinet taken: Residents

A loud blast was heard around Aden’s presidential palace, where the newly formed Yemeni cabinet was transferred after an attack at the city’s airport, two residents and local media said.

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

‘Despicable attempt to cause carnage and chaos’: UK condemns attack

Michael Aron, Britain’s ambassador to Yemen, condemned the attack on Twitter, calling it a “despicable attempt to cause carnage and chaos” in the conflict-hit country.

Translation: I condemn the cowardly attack on Aden airport which coincided with the arrival of the new government. It was a despicable attempt to cause carnage and chaos and bring suffering [at a time] when the Yemeni people chose to move forward. My condolences to the families of the deceased and I wish healing for the wounded.

Saudi condemns attack as ‘cowardly terrorist act’

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen has condemned the attack on the country’s new unity government as a “cowardly terrorist act” whose target is the Yemeni people.

“The targeting of the Yemeni government upon its arrival at Aden airport is a cowardly terrorist act targeting all the Yemeni people, their security, stability and their daily life,” Mohamed al-Jabir said in a tweet.

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 insisted.


Turkey condemns attack on Aden airport

Turkey has condemned Wednesday’s attack on members of the newly formed Yemeni government.

“We strongly condemn the heinous attack which took place after the plane carrying the members of new Yemeni government headed by Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed [Ö] landed at Aden Airport,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives in the attack, convey our condolences to the people of Yemen and wish a speedy recovery to the injured, the ministry said.

Government officials unharmed, says information minister

Yemeni Information Minister Moammar Al-Eryani said 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 Houthi armed group will not deter us from carrying out our patriotic duty,” he said on Twitter.

Yemen’s communication minister says plane was the target

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.

“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.

‘Unacceptable act of violence’: UN envoy condemns attack

The UN 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.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies