- The attack appears to have been aimed at the new Executive, which had just landed from Riyadh, where the new administration had been constituted.
- No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- The new government represents the culmination of an effort by Saudi Arabia to bring together two of the main factions fighting the Houthi rebels.
An attack at Yemen’s Aden airport left at least 26 dead and more than 50 injured. The images from the airport in Aden, a port city in the south of the country, show huge columns of smoke. The causes of the explosions are not yet known, but some witnesses describe machine gun fire and the launching of mortars.
The attack appears to have been aimed at the new Yemeni government, whose plane had just landed from Riyadh, where the new administration had been constituted.
A few hours later, a new explosion was heard near the presidential palace complex where members of the government had been taken. Responsibility for the attacks has not yet been claimed.
Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, who was on board the plane at the time of the explosions, said that everything was fine with him and the rest of the government. “The cowardly terrorist act that targeted Aden airport is part of the war that is being waged against the Yemeni state and its great people,” he said.
Communications Minister Naguib al-Awg said he did not doubt that the plane that was flying government officials was the target, but that they escaped because it landed after the scheduled time. He told the Associated Press that it would have been a disaster if the plane was bombed.
Yemen’s Information Minister, Moammer al-Eryani, attributed the “cowardly terrorist attack” to the “Iran-supported Houthi militias.” However, the group’s official source denied any involvement.
Yemen is the scene of a complex civil war that has been going on since 2014. Today, it has the dimensions of a regional conflict, dragging in the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and Iran.
Initially, the war pitted the internationally-recognized government against the Houthi militia, which occupied the capital in 2014. With the continuation of the fighting, Saudi Arabia joined a coalition of nearby countries, supported by the United States, to bomb the positions of the Houthis, deepening the destructive character conflict.
At the same time, the Iranian regime has intensified its support for the Houthis. The collapse of institutions and the power vacuum have also allowed terrorist groups to flourish, with an emphasis on the strongest branch of Al Qaeda currently based in Yemen.
The new government represents the culmination of an effort by Saudi Arabia to bring together two of the main factions fighting the Houthi rebels, who control part of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.
Since Sanaa was taken over by the Houthis in 2014, the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has been installed in Aden, but it also faces a group of separatists from southern Yemen. The new executive brings together representatives of both factions.
The attack marks a troubled start for a government that wanted to narrow the fronts of the Yemeni conflict. Afzal Ashraf, professor at Nottingham University, told Al-Jazeera, “this continues to fragment and complicate an already complex and unnecessarily difficult situation which is causing enormous distress to innocent civilians.”
The war in Yemen is responsible for one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in recent history. The destruction of most infrastructure is depriving millions of people of access to food, basic necessities, and health care. The UN recently warned that half of the country’s 30 million inhabitants will endure “aggravated levels of hunger” over the next year.