At least 22 people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in an attack at the airport in the southern Yemeni city of Aden, officials say.
There was at least one explosion shortly after a plane carrying the war-torn country’s newly formed government arrived from neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
Aid workers and officials were among the casualties. But the prime minister said he and his cabinet were “fine”.
The information minister accused Houthi rebels of a “cowardly terrorist act”
Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik said all members of the cabinet were “fine”. But the attack underlined the difficulties facing a government intended by Saudi Arabia to unite two of its allies in the war against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.
Hours after the attack, a second explosion was heard around Aden’s Maasheq presidential palace where the cabinet members including Maeen, as well as the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Mohammad Said al-Jaber, had been taken to safety, residents and local media said.
In the airport attack, loud blasts and gunfire were heard shortly after the plane arrived from Riyadh, witnesses said. A local security source said three mortar shells had landed on the airport’s hall.
The cabinet gave the death figure on Twitter, citing the interior minister, and said 50 people were wounded. Medecins Sans Frontieres aid group had earlier said 17 people were treated for wounds at its hospital in Aden.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The Saudi-led coalition said it had downed an explosive-laden Houthi drone that was targeting the presidential palace.
There was no immediate reaction from the Houthis, who denied responsibility for the airport attack.
“We and the members of the government are in the temporary capital of Aden and everyone is fine,” Maeen tweeted from Maasheq palace. “The cowardly terrorist act that targeted Aden airport is part of the war that is being waged against the Yemeni state and its great people.”