At least 26 dead and more than 50 wounded left two explosions at Aden airport as a plane carrying Yemen’s new unity government arrived in the makeshift capital of the warring country, medical sources reported.
The attack took place days after the new Yemeni Executive, which now has separatists from the south of the Arab country, was sworn in during a ceremony in Saudi Arabia in which the President of Yemen, Abdo Rabu Mansur Hadi, was present.
Noises of explosions and gunshots were heard before thick black smoke billowed from an airport building as debris fell, causing panic among those present, according to images from Saudi television channel Al-Hadath.
“We are fine,” tweeted the new Foreign Minister Ahmed ben Mubarak.
The plane was arriving from Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, where the Yemeni government went into exile after the Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in September 2014 as well as vast regions of the country, unleashing a bloody war.
Aden later became the temporary capital of the country.
Government spokesman Rajeh Badi called for an “international investigation into this criminal act , ” reported the AFP news agency.
The victims include civilians, security guards and local officials, but all members of the government “are fine.”
It is “a tragic reminder of the importance of urgently putting Yemen back on the path to peace,” UN envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths posted on Twitter, condemning the explosions that “killed and wounded several innocent civilians. “
Information Minister Muammar al-Iryani on Twitter accused Houthi rebels of carrying out today’s attack, while Prime Minister Main Said referred to a “cowardly terrorist act”, although he did not mention the Houthis.
“This will only increase our determination to do our duty,” he tweeted.
In a poor country devastated by conflict, the new unity Yemeni government that brings together ministers from the Hadi government and separatists from the south was formed on December 18 at the impetus of Saudi Arabia.
These two sides that were vying for power in the South have continued to be allies for six years against the Houthi rebels, supported by Iran and who seized a large part of the north of the country, including the capital Sanaa.
The conflict has experienced an upsurge on several fronts in recent months, despite international mediation efforts in a war that left thousands of dead and sparked today’s greatest humanitarian crisis.
Currently, almost 80% of Yemen’s population, some 24 million people, need assistance in the country, where more than 20 million are food insecure.