An explosion at an airport in Aden, a city in south Yemen, has left at least 22 dead and 50 wounded, the Associated Press reports.
The blast followed the arrival of a plane carrying members of Yemen’s newly formed cabinet from Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, according to the Associated Press. Riyadh has served as the Yemeni government’s home base during the years-long civil war. The newly appointed cabinet members were sworn in as part of a deal with southern separatists. (RELATED: Yemen On Verge Of World’s Worst Famine In Decades As US Threatens Rebels, UN Chief Warns)
— Disclose.tv ???? (@disclosetv) December 30, 2020
No one from the government envoy was hurt in the blast, according to the Associated Press.
The cause and source of the explosion remains unknown, and no group has taken responsibility for the blast, the Associated Press reports.
Footage of the blast from the Associated Press shows the Yemeni delegation getting off the plane as the blast occurred. The officials then ran back inside the plane or elsewhere to find shelter, according to the Associated Press.
Officials onsite described a gruesome scene, as bodies were strewn across the tarmac and airport, the Associated Press reports.
Yemeni Communication Minister Naguib al-Awg, who was a part of the government delegation that landed at Aden airport, said he believed he heard two explosions and that they were drone strikes, according to the Associated Press.
Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, the Yemini prime minister, was also among the government delegation, the Associated Press reports. He and other high-ranking officials were evacuated from the airport to Mashiq Palace, where another explosion occurred nearby after the blast at the airport. However, the Associated Press reports the government officials all made it to the palace safely.
نحن واعضاء الحكومة في العاصمة المؤقتة عدن والجميع بخير، العمل الإرهابي الجبان الذي استهدف مطار عدن جزء من الحرب التي تشن على الدولة اليمنية وعلى شعبنا العظيم ولن يزيدنا إلا إصرارا على القيام بواجباتنا حتى إنهاء الانقلاب واستعادة الدولة والاستقرار، الرحمة للشهداء والشفاء للجرحى.
— معين عبد الملك Maeen Abdulmalek (@DrMaeenSaeed) December 30, 2020
A Yemeni security official told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity that three Red Cross workers were also wounded in the blast. Since, the International Committee of the Red Cross has confirmed that two workers, one of Yemeni and one of Rwandan origin, were killed in the blast, according to the Associated Press. It also said three others were wounded and one remained unaccounted for, the Associated Press reports.
United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said the explosion was an “unacceptable act of violence” in a tweet.
2/2 Griffiths: I wish the Cabinet strength in facing the difficult tasks ahead. This unacceptable act of violence is a tragic reminder of the importance of bringing #Yemen urgently back on the path towards peace.
— @OSE_Yemen (@OSE_Yemen) December 30, 2020
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Arab League have also come out and condemned what all indications so far suggest to be attacks, the Associated Press reports.