Aden receives first flight after ‘blockade’

A Yemenia Airways Airbus A320 aircraft is pictured at the Sanaa Airport, in this file photo taken on March 28, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 November 2017
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Aden receives first flight after ‘blockade’

ADEN: Yemen’s national airline said on Tuesday a commercial flight had landed at Aden international airport after acquiring security permits.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi militia said last week it had closed all air, land and sea ports in Yemen to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran. The move came after Saudi Arabia intercepted a missile fired toward Riyadh, which it blamed on Tehran.
A Yemenia airlines official said a flight took off from Cairo and landed in Aden on Tuesday before returning to the Egyptian capital. He said the flights would increase gradually over the coming days.
In another development, Daesh claimed responsibility for a car bombing that security sources said killed 10 people, including civilians, at a security post in the government bastion of Aden on Tuesday.
The terrorist group claimed the attack in the southern port city via the encrypted messaging app Telegram, adding that a Yemeni suicide bomber had detonated the vehicle.
Aden’s security chief told AFP: “Eight members of the security forces and two civilians were killed in a car bombing in the central district of Abdul Aziz.”
“There are a large number of wounded, some of them in serious condition,” Brig. Shalal Shaya said, attributing the blast to a car bomb.


Travelers wait as fighting shuts runways in Libya

Updated 13 min 44 sec ago
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Travelers wait as fighting shuts runways in Libya

  • Misrata airport on Libya’s northwestern Mediterranean coast processed three to four flights a day last month
  • Armed groups fighting for territory and influence 200 km further west fired rockets toward Tripoli’s main remaining air hub

MISRATA, Libya: The queue snakes out of the departures hall and deep into the carpark at Libya’s small Misrata airport — the main remaining gateway in and out of the country since fighting shut down the last runways in the capital Tripoli.
The people lined up with their luggage are the lucky ones. Others wait for their chance to queue — sitting on the pavement, one man camped out on a stalled baggage conveyor belt, trying to get some sleep with his head resting on his suitcase.
Misrata airport on Libya’s northwestern Mediterranean coast processed three to four flights a day last month.
Then armed groups fighting for territory and influence 200 km (125 miles) further west fired rockets toward Tripoli’s main remaining air hub — the latest in a long line of clashes since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.
Flights were rerouted to Misrata. Ever since, its warehouse-sized terminal has been packed with up to 6,000 passengers pouring on and off dozens of flights every day, say officials.
“Misrata airport is not capable of handling these numbers,” said Soliman Al-Jahimy, the airport’s spokesman.
In another part of the building, scores of migrants from other parts of Africa — who were stopped in Libya as they tried to get on to Europe — wait for UN flights to take them back home.
Elsewhere businessmen wait next to stranded families and elderly relatives in wheelchairs — hotels rooms are scarce in the city and flights are repeatedly delayed or canceled. Many wait for seven hours or more.
Beyond Misrata, the other options are a tiny airport in the western town of Zuwara, next to the Tunisian border, sometimes used by diplomats — and less busy airports in eastern Libya, a territory run by a rival administration, opposed to the UN-backed administration in the west.
All are clustered on the coast, far from the country’s southern desert hinterlands which are beset by their own chaos and fighting between tribes and other armed groups that shut the airport in that region’s main city Sebha in January 2014.
“Getting here was a disaster,” says Basheer Hassan, exhausted after his long trek to Misrata.
“There were no flights operating in the south to Tripoli or to Misrata, so we had to drive here and I suffered all the way.”