SANA: A large explosion struck the airport in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Wednesday, shortly after a plane carrying the newly formed Cabinet landed there. At least 25 people were killed and 110 were wounded in the blast.
Yemen government informed that Iran-backed Houthi rebels fired four ballistic missiles at the airport.
According to reports, no one on the government plane was hurt.
The Cabinet reshuffle was seen as a major step toward closing a dangerous rift between the government of embattled Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, and southern separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates.
Hadi’s government and the separatists are nominal allies in Yemen’s years-long civil war that pits the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed military coalition against the Houthis, who control most of northern Yemen as well as the country’s capital, Sana.
A video from the scene at the airport showed members of the government delegation disembarking as the blast shook the grounds. Many ministers rushed back inside the plane or ran down the stairs, seeking shelter.
Thick smoke rose into the air near the terminal building.
Yemen’s communication minister, Naguib Awg, was on the government plane and told the Associated Press that he heard two explosions and suggested they were drone attacks. Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed and the others were quickly whisked away from the airport to the Mashiq Palace.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak blamed Iranian-backed Houthi rebels for the attacks without offering evidence. His ministry said in a statement later that the rebels fired four ballistic missiles at the airport and launched drone attacks at the palace, the Cabinet’s headquarters. They did not provide evidence.
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Health Minister Qasem Buhaibuh said in a tweet the attacks at the airport killed least 25 people and wounded 110 others, suggesting the death toll could increase further because some of the wounds were serious.
The Yemen minister were returning to Aden after being sworn in last week as part of a reshuffle following a deal with rival southern 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 Sana. The following year, a Saudi-led military coalition intervened to wage war on the Houthis and restore Hadi’s government to power.
The war has killed more than 112,000, including thousands of civilians, and has resulted in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
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