Yemen Airport Is Attacked as New Government Arrives

CAIRO — An attack on an airport in Aden, Yemen, killed numerous civilians on Wednesday just as a plane carrying members of the country’s newly formed government cabinet was arriving, according to a Yemeni official.

At least 16 people were killed and 60 others were wounded, The Associated Press reported, citing Mohammed al-Roubid, the deputy chief of Aden’s health office.

The formation of the new cabinet was supposed to be a step toward resolving Yemen’s civil war, which has killed tens of thousands of civilians and brought the country into what aid groups have called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

For much of the conflict, which began in late 2014, the fighting has been between Houthi rebels based in northern Yemen, along the Saudi border, and a government to the south backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. But the government side splintered in August 2019 between Saudi-backed forces and southern separatists sponsored by the Emirates.

Since then, in fits and starts, Saudi Arabia has pushed the Yemenis to mend the broken government alliance. The new cabinet that the kingdom’s negotiators had at last managed to broker was sworn in this month.

Muhammad al-Bukhaiti, a Houthi official, denied responsibility for the attack on Wednesday, Al Jazeera reported.

Among the dead were Yemeni government officials who had been waiting to greet the new ministers, who had flown from Saudi Arabia, said Fadi Baoum, an official affiliated with a group that advocates independence in southern Yemen who spoke with airport employees.

Mr. Baoum blamed Saudi officials for not keeping the airport secure. “Saudi Arabia has sponsored this government,” he said by telephone. “It is their responsibility to provide the necessary security to this government they backed.”

“Twenty-four ministers arrived. How come the security was so weak there?” he said.

Al Arabiya, a Saudi news channel, reported that the dead included a deputy transportation minister. It said the cabinet members who survived the attack had been safely moved to the presidential palace in Aden.

Vivian Yee reported from Cairo, and Hwaida Saad from Beirut, Lebanon.

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