WORLD Death toll rises to 22 in Aden's airport explosions in southern Yemen

WORLD

Death toll rises to 22 in Aden's airport explosions in southern Yemen

Xinhua

08:58, December 31, 2020

People are seen on the tarmac during an attack on Aden airport moments after a plane landed carrying a newly formed cabinet for government-held parts of Yemen, in Aden, Yemen on Dec 30, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)

The number of deaths caused by three explosions that struck Aden's airport in southern Yemen rose to 22 on Wednesday evening, the country's Interior Ministry announced.

According to a statement released by the pro-government ministry based in the southern port city of Aden, nearly 22 people were killed and 50 others wounded in Aden's airport blasts.

The ministry's statement indicated that the coordinated blasts targeted local officials and employees gathered to welcome the government's members at the airport.

Yemen's President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi accused the Houthi rebel group of being behind the explosions.

The Yemeni president officially directed the formation of a committee from the new power-sharing government to investigate the repercussions of the attack against the airport of Aden.

Hadi chose the newly-appointed Minister of Interior and leaders of the security and intelligence departments to lead the investigation committee in Aden, in coordination with the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, according to the state-run Saba News Agency.

He also stressed, during his phone call with the country's Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik, that "the terrorist acts committed by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia and extremist terrorist groups will not discourage the legitimate government from exercising its duties from the temporary capital of Aden."

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Yemen said that one of its employees died during the airport's explosions in Aden.

The Red Cross branch in Yemen said in a statement posted on their official Twitter account that "we are profoundly saddened that one of our colleagues was killed in Aden's airport explosion."

"Two others are unaccounted for and three were injured. Our staff were transiting through the airport with other civilians. This is a tragic day for us and the people of Yemen," the Red Cross statement said.

Three massive explosions on Wednesday struck Aden's airport just minutes after the arrival of a new power-sharing government from Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, Hadi issued a decree to form a new power-sharing government in Yemen led by Saeed, a move that received regional and international welcome.

The new government consisted of 24 ministerial portfolios, divided equally between the northern and southern provinces in Yemen.

The new Yemeni government was established in accordance with the terms of the Riyadh Peace Agreement jointly signed in November last year between the Yemeni government and the leaders of the Southern Transitional Council (STC).

In 2019, Saudi Arabia persuaded the STC and the Yemeni government to hold reconciliation talks, which resulted in a deal to form a new technocratic cabinet of no more than 24 ministers.

But numerous obstacles have stood in the way of implementing the deal, which excluded the Houthi rebels who are still controlling the capital Sanaa and other northern provinces of the war-torn Arab country.

The impoverished Arab country has been locked in a civil war since late 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country and seized all northern regions including Sanaa.

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