At least five dead, dozens wounded, in Yemen airport attack

At least five people have been killed and dozens more wounded in an attack on Aden airport, shortly after a plane carrying Yemen’s newly-formed government arrived from Saudi Arabia, a local security source says.

Loud blasts and gunfire were heard at the airport shortly after the plane arrived on Wednesday, witnesses said.

The cabinet members including Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik, as well as Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Said al-Jaber, were transferred safely to the city’s presidential palace, the witnesses and Saudi media said.

A local security source said three mortar shells landed on the airport’s hall.

BREAKING – Explosion at Aden’s International Airport upon arrival of members of #Yemen’s new government.pic.twitter.com/VkUXy31wz1

— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) December 30, 2020

The newly formed cabinet unites the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi with southern separatists.

The two groups are the main Yemeni factions in a southern-based, Saudi-backed alliance, fighting against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement that controls the north.

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

The southern port city of Aden has been mired in violence because of a rift between the separatists and Hadi’s government.

NEW – video of the explosion(s) at Aden Airport in #Yemen. Initial reports claim either mortars or drones were used in the attack.pic.twitter.com/HIha6sdUpO

— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) December 30, 2020

The separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), which seeks independence for south Yemen, declared self rule in Aden earlier this year, triggering violent clashes and complicating UN efforts to forge a permanent ceasefire in the overall conflict.

The Saudi-led coalition announced earlier this month the new power-sharing cabinet that would include the separatists.

The cabinet landed from Riyadh where both parties negotiated for more than a year with Saudi mediation.

-AAP