Wed, 20 Jan 2021

Who was behind Aden airport attack, which killed 26?

By Jay Jackson, Beijing News.Net
01 Jan 2021, 19:34 GMT+10

ADEN, Yemen - Mystery surrounds the attack on Yemen's international airport at its temporary capital Aden which has claimed dozens of lives and injured scores more.

The attack believed to have targeted the 24-member Cabinet of the newly formed joint government, which had arrived from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia where it had been sworn in on Saturday, has been attributed by some in the new government, and the Saudi coalition that supports it, to the Houthi rebels, which has links to Iran.

"We assure our great people that members of the government are fine, and we assure you that the cowardly terrorist attack by the Iran-supported Houthi militia will not deter us from carrying out our patriotic duty," Yemen's Information Minister Moammar Al-Eryani said in a tweet.

However, both the Houthi rebels and Iran have separately denied any involvement, and have condemned the attack. The individual countries in the Gulf, many of them involved in the coalition fighting the Houthi rebels, and the Arab League, condemned the attack but did not attribute blame. Bahrain however was an exception.

Most strikingly however were Iran and the Houthi rebels' denials of involvement.

Continued foreign aggression is the main contributor to instability in Yemen, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement released on Thursday.

"Such acts of violence and the killing of civilians are the result of the mentality of aggressors and occupiers of Yemen, who, in the name of a self-styled coalition, have destroyed the whole of Yemen, and, with their bellicose and secessionist views, have perpetrated the most heinous human crisis in Yemen," he said.

Khatibzadeh called on all parties to return to political negotiations, and increase efforts to end the ongoing conflict.

Saudi Arabia's Spokesman of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, Brigadier General Turki al-Malki, described the attack as a "terrorist act."

"These terrorist acts not only target the Yemeni government but the hopes and aspirations of the brotherly Yemeni people," he said in a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency

"The attempt to assassinate the Yemeni Cabinet is an attempt to thwart the Riyadh Agreement, which Yemeni people have adopted as a path toward the unification of ranks, restoration of normal life, security and stability and a roadmap to reaching a comprehensive political solution in Yemen," he said.

Yemen's internationally recognised Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalek, who was at the airport as the attack took place, said in a tweet: "The cowardly terrorist act that targeted Aden airport is part of the war being waged against the Yemeni state and our great people. It will only increase our insistence on fulfilling our duties until the coup is ended and the state is restored with stability, mercy for the martyrs, and healing for the wounded."

The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, condemned, in the strongest terms, the bombing.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Aboul Gheit described the attack as 'a cowardly terrorist act aimed at sabotaging the political agreement recently reached under the auspices of Riyadh, according to which the new government was formed and the rift with the Transitional Political Council in the south was healed.'

He stressed, according to a report by WAM, that whoever stands behind this act does not want good for Yemen and its people, and seeks to stabilize the state of chaos and confuse the scene and prolong the suffering of Yemenis.

In Bahrain, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintained, in a report carried by the Bahrain News Agency, the tiny kingdom's solidarity with Yemen, saying "that this terrorist act reflects the clear determination of the terrorist Houthi militia to continue its attacks on civilian institutions and installations and destabilize security and stability in Yemen."

The U.S. State Department said the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

"Such attacks will not stop or undermine efforts to bring a lasting peace that the Yemeni people deserve. These violent acts must end, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice," the statement said.

The United Kingdom's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office issued a statement supporting the newly-formed unity government. "This government leads a country facing a horrendous humanitarian crisis, economic turmoil, and ongoing conflict alongside the coronavirus pandemic," James Cleverly, Minister for the Middle East and North Africa said Thursday. "It has the UK's full support and I strongly condemn today's heinous acts, which have left innocent people dead and many more injured."

At least twenty-six people were killed, and more than 100 others injured, when 3 explosions struck the Aden airport on Wednesday.

Adding to the confusion and mystery of who the perpetrators of the attack were, was a claim by the Saudi coalition of the downing of a "booby-trapped" drone later on Wednesday, that the coalition said was targeting the Al-Masheeq Palace in Aden.

Brigadier General Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman for the coalition forcessaid the joint coalition forces managed to destroy and shoot down an explosive UAV "launched by the terrorist Houthi militia in an attempt to target Al-Masheeq Palace in the temporary capital of Aden."

Brigadier General Al-Maliki went on to condemn and denounce "the cowardly terrorist attack that took place at Aden Airport today, and this miserable terrorist attempt to target Al-Masheeq Palace confirms the responsibility of the Iranian-backed terrorist Houthi militia for the cowardly terrorist attack on Aden International Airport during the arrival of the Prime Minister and members The Yemeni government."

Sign up for Beijing News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!