UPDATE 3 – Death toll from Yemen's Aden airport blasts rises to 22


By Halime Afra Aksoy

ADEN, Yemen (AA) – At least 22 people were killed in three explosions that rocked the airport in Yemen's southern port city of Aden on Wednesday soon after the newly formed government members arrived in the temporary capital.

At least 50 others were injured in the attacks, the Yemeni Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Among the casualties were civilians, airport workers, and officials present in the area to greet Cabinet members, the statement also said.

Members of the Yemeni government survived the attack without injuries, it added.

A Yemeni security source, who preferred anonymity, told Anadolu Agency that the blasts targeted the VIP lounge at the airport, which is under the control of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces.

Meanwhile, an Anadolu Agency correspondent reported that all the members of the Yemeni government arrived at the presidential palace of Maasheeq in Aden, without any of them being injured in the blasts.

Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, for his part, confirmed in a tweet that "the members of the government are in Aden and everyone is fine."

"The cowardly terrorist act that targeted the Aden airport is part of the war being waged against the Yemeni state and our great people.

"This act will only boast our determination to carry out our duties until the end of the coup [carried out by the Houthi group in 2014] and the restoration of the state and stability,” the premier said.

Information Minister Moammar Al-Eryani, meanwhile, accused the Houthi rebel group of staging the attack.

"The cowardly terrorist attack carried out by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia at the Aden airport will not deter us from carrying out our national duty," the minister said on Twitter.

The Houthi group denied the accusations in a statement.

Yemen's new Cabinet was formed under the Riyadh agreement between the Yemeni government and the STC, which is backed by the United Arab Emirates.

The deal was signed in November 2019 under the sponsorship of the Saudi-led coalition, putting an end to military clashes between forces of both parties.

Yemen has fallen into civil war in 2014 when Iran-backed Houthi rebels overran much of northern provinces, including the capital Sanaa.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the conflict in Yemen has so far claimed the lives of 233,000 people.

* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat and Zehra Nur Duz