At least 26 people have died and more than 50 have been wounded in a high-profile attack on Yemen’s Aden International Airport.
Multiple projectiles struck various parts of the facility just as members of a new Saudi Arabia-backed power-sharing government were disembarking from their plane shortly after touching down in the country.
Video from the scene shows hundreds of people were gathered on the tarmac when the blast struck. Prior to the attack, hundreds of people had gathered at the airport for the arrival of the government, which was sworn in in Saudi Arabia last week
People were still disembarking from the plane carrying members of Yemen’s new government when the explosion hit, causing the crowd to scatter as they rushed for cover.
The attack created a large hole in the ground and caused severe damage to an airport hall, according to footage from Saudi state broadcaster Al-Ekhbraiya.
There is also unconfirmed video circulating on social media purporting to show what might be some of the projectiles being fired at the airport from the direction of Taiz. That city, which lies to the northwest of Aden, is under Houthi control.
Saudi Arabia accused Iran-backed Houthi rebels of being behind the explosion, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA). The group has not claimed responsibility.
Col. Turki Al-Malki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, said the coalition intercepted and downed an explosives-laden Houthi drone on Wednesday that was targeting the presidential Al-Maashiq Palace in Aden, according to SPA.
Al-Malki said the drone downing “confirms the responsibility” of the Houthi militia in the airport attack.
“The attempt to assassinate the Yemeni Cabinet is an attempt to thwart the Riyadh Agreement, which Yemeni people have adopted as a path toward unification of ranks, restoration of normal life, security and stability and a roadmap to reaching a comprehensive political solution in Yemen,” Al-Malki was quoted as saying in a statement carried on SPA.
Earlier, Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al Eryani accused the Houthi rebels of being behind the explosion.