Yemen govt vows to restore stability after deadly attack

·2-min read
Smoke billows at Aden Airport in southern Yemen on December 30, 2020, following explosions shortly after the arrival of a plane carrying cabinet ministers

The new power-sharing Yemeni government vowed on Thursday to bring stability to the war-torn country, a day after a fatal attack ripped through Aden's airport targeting cabinet members.

At least 26 people, including three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross, were killed and scores were wounded when explosions rocked the airport as ministers disembarked from an aircraft in the southern city.

All cabinet members were reported to be unharmed, in what some ministers charged was an attack by the Iran-backed Huthi rebels.

Video footage shot by AFP shows what appears to be a missile striking the airport apron, which moments before had been packed with crowds, and exploding into a ball of intense flames.

But it is still not fully clear what caused the explosions.

Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak told AFP on Thursday the new unity government is up to the challenges facing a country that has long been the Arab Peninsula's most impoverished nation.

"The government is determined to fulfil its duty and work to restore stability in Yemen," he said.

"This terrorist attack will not deter it from that."

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced in Yemen's grinding five-year war, which has triggered what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

The cabinet ministers arrived in Aden days after being sworn in by Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi in Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition against the Huthi insurgents.

Hadi fled to Riyadh after Yemen's capital Sanaa fell to the Huthis in 2014.

The new government includes ministers loyal to Hadi and supporters of the secessionist Southern Transitional Council, as well as other parties.

While all oppose the Huthi rebels, deep divisions have grown among them, including through sporadic military clashes in and around Aden between the secessionists and forces loyal to the central government.

Saudi Arabia has been encouraging the unity government to quell the "war within a civil war" and to bolster the coalition against the Huthi insurgents, which control Sanaa and much of the north.

Some ministers, including Mubarak, blamed the Huthi insurgents for the attack but other government officials remained more circumspect.

"Information and preliminary investigations show that the Huthi militia was behind this ugly terrorist attack," Mubarak told AFP, adding that missiles were launched from rebel-held areas.

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