27 dead, dozens wounded in deadly attack on Aden airport

Bystanders and a soldier stand near a damaged portion of the airport of Yemen’s southern city of Aden after an explosion, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (AP)
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Bystanders and a soldier stand near a damaged portion of the airport of Yemen’s southern city of Aden after an explosion, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (AP)
Reports suggest at least 27 people have been killed in the attack. (AFP)
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Reports suggest at least 27 people have been killed in the attack. (AFP)
Crowds gathered on the runway as the passengers started to come off. (AFP)
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Crowds gathered on the runway as the passengers started to come off. (AFP)
There was also a heavy military presence. (AFP)
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There was also a heavy military presence. (AFP)
Then the missiles struck the airport. (AFP)
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Then the missiles struck the airport. (AFP)
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Updated 30 December 2020

27 dead, dozens wounded in deadly attack on Aden airport

Bystanders and a soldier stand near a damaged portion of the airport of Yemen’s southern city of Aden after an explosion, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (AP)
  • Terrorist attack occurred as new government flew in from Riyadh
  • Prime minister, Saudi ambassador taken to safety in presidential palace

AL-MUKALLA: Terrorists declared war on Yemen’s fledgling democratic government on Wednesday with a deadly attack on Aden airport as members of the new administration flew in from Riyadh.

At least 27 people were killed and 40 injured in a series of explosions just outside the airport’s main hall while the aircraft’s passengers were disembarking.

A local security source said the building was hit by three mortar shells, and Yemen's information minister Muammar Al-Eryani accused Iran-backed Houthi militias of carrying out the attack.

The explosions were followed by heavy gunfire from armored vehicles as plumes of smoke and dust rose from the scene.

The attack took place as the airport hall was packed with local officials and well-wishers waiting to greet the new government. “Most of the dead and wounded are civilians,” a local health official told Arab News.

The cabinet members, including Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik, were taken to safety at the city’s Maasheq presidential palace, along with the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed Al-Jaber.

Later on Wednesday, Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said it shot down an explosive drone, suspected to be from the Houthi militia, which was targeting the palace.

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READ MORE: ‘Cowardly’ Aden airport attack draws regional, global condemnation

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“We and the members of the government are in the temporary capital of Aden and everyone is fine,” Maeen tweeted from the 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.

“It will only increase our determination to fulfill our duties until the coup is ended and the state and stability are restored.”

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen announced the new power-sharing cabinet this month after more than a year of intense Saudi mediation between the government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council.

The government returned to Aden to put into place the final components of the Riyadh Agreement and end months of political wrangling and violence.

Al-Jaber said the terrorists were seeking to destroy the positive atmosphere created by the formation of the new government and the full implementation of the Riyadh Agreement. “Targeting the Yemeni government upon its arrival at Aden airport is a cowardly terrorist act targeting all the Yemeni people, their security, stability and their daily life,” he said. “It confirms the extent of disappointment and confusion that the creators of death and destruction have reached as a result of the success of the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement and the formation of the Yemeni government and starting its duties to serve the Yemeni people.”

UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths also condemned the attack. “I wish the cabinet strength in facing the difficult tasks ahead,” he said. “This unacceptable act of violence is a tragic reminder of the importance of bringing Yemen urgently back on the path toward peace." 

Michael Aron, the UN ambassador to Yemen, said: “I condemn the cowardly attack on Aden airport timed to coincide with the arrival of the new government, a despicable attempt to cause carnage and chaos and bring suffering when Yemenis had chosen to move forward together. My thoughts are with the families of those killed and injured.”

Both the secretary of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Kuwaiti foreign ministry also condemed the attack, while, Emirati minister Anwar Gargash said the attack on the airport was an attack on the “prospects for peace and stability in Yemen.”


Egyptian and Russian foreign ministers discuss strategic relations

Egyptian and Russian foreign ministers discuss strategic relations
Updated 14 sec ago

Egyptian and Russian foreign ministers discuss strategic relations

Egyptian and Russian foreign ministers discuss strategic relations
  • Meeting was on sidelines of UN General Assembly session 
  • Countries have partnership and cooperation agreement 

CAIRO: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov discussed strategic relations between the two countries, as well as Syria, Libya, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Lavrov and Shoukry met on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. 

They discussed issues related to the further development of Russian-Egyptian relations, stressing the need to “maintain bilateral contacts, in which dialogue based on trust between the leaders of the two friendly countries plays an important role.”

Lavrov and Shoukry said the partnership and strategic cooperation agreement between Russia and Egypt, which entered into force in January, would ensure the strengthening of joint work in commercial, economic and humanitarian matters.

In an official post on Telegram, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Lavrov had invited Shoukry to visit Moscow.


Salih calls for respect for Iraqi sovereignty

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R), and Barham Salih, President of the Republic of Iraq, meeting during the the 76th session of the UNGA. (AP)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R), and Barham Salih, President of the Republic of Iraq, meeting during the the 76th session of the UNGA. (AP)
Updated 23 September 2021

Salih calls for respect for Iraqi sovereignty

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R), and Barham Salih, President of the Republic of Iraq, meeting during the the 76th session of the UNGA. (AP)
  • President: Iraq, Iran should maintain ties based on mutual respect
  • Concerns raised over hardships caused by Iranian, Turkish dams

WASHINGTON D.C.: Iraqi President Barham Salih said his country should not be used as a proxy by its more powerful neighbors Iran and Turkey to settle regional conflicts.

Speaking at an event hosted on Wednesday by the Council on Foreign Relations, he added that Iran might be wary of Iraq’s reemergence as a regional power in the future, but that both countries should maintain ties based on mutual respect.

Iran maintains a powerful influence on Iraqi domestic politics through political parties and militias that receive political and financial support from Tehran.

Salih, who is attending the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, said Iraq and Iran should treat each other as “sovereign states.”

He added that he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the UNGA, and discussed bilateral relations and Ankara’s incursions into Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish militants.

Salih said recent droughts and the loss of agricultural land, mainly due to dams built by Turkey and Iran that restrict the flow of water downstream to Iraq, are causing severe problems for his country.

Iraq depends for its agriculture on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which flow downstream to Syria and Iraq from Turkey.

An extensive Turkish dam system has restricted the flow of the rivers downstream, causing severe droughts in both Arab countries.

Similarly, Iranian dams have caused drought and economic hardship in Iraq, especially in the Kurdish region.

Salih said the situation will worsen as Iraq’s population of around 40 million is projected to double by 2050.

He stressed the need for Iraq to establish long-term economic planning to address an eventual drop in its oil sales — which represent the majority of its income — due to emerging technologies that do not depend on oil.

Salih discussed Iraq seeking stronger economic ties with Jordan and Egypt, including connecting the three countries with a common electrical grid and building an Iraqi oil pipeline that goes through Jordan.


Ethiopia will ‘pay price’ for Renaissance Dam: Arab League chief

Ethiopia will ‘pay price’ for Renaissance Dam: Arab League chief
Updated 23 September 2021

Ethiopia will ‘pay price’ for Renaissance Dam: Arab League chief

Ethiopia will ‘pay price’ for Renaissance Dam: Arab League chief

Ethiopia will “pay the price” for constructing the Renaissance Dam, which has caused a crisis between Addis Ababa on the one hand, and Cairo and Khartoum on the other, said Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

“It is a dam of ruin for two Arab countries (Egypt and Sudan),” he said, adding that the “tragic situation” facing the Arab world in recent times has given Turkey, Iran, Israel and Ethiopia an opportunity to interfere in the region’s affairs.

Aboul Gheit said his priority at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly is to focus on the Palestinian issue again, to which he “will demand a political solution.”


Israeli court hears custody fight over cable car survivor, 6

Israeli court hears custody fight over cable car survivor, 6
Updated 23 September 2021

Israeli court hears custody fight over cable car survivor, 6

Israeli court hears custody fight over cable car survivor, 6
  • Eitan Biran’s relatives on both sides attended the session in Tel Aviv
  • Eitan’s immediate family was among 14 people killed when the cable car carrying them crashed into a mountainside in May

JERUSALEM: The bitter custody battle over a 6-year-old boy who survived a cable car crash in Italy inched forward in Israel on Monday with a hearing in family court.
Eitan Biran’s relatives on both sides attended the session in Tel Aviv, in a legal fight that spans both countries where his remaining relatives reside. Eitan’s immediate family was among 14 people killed when the cable car carrying them crashed into a mountainside in May. The child’s survival sparked an immediate international dispute between his maternal and paternal families.
Members of both families met in family court in Tel Aviv on Monday, a next step in the dispute. Those present included Eitan’s aunt Aya Biran, who lives in Italy and has filed a formal request with the Italian court system seeking Eitan’s return to Italy. Also attending Monday’s hearing was the child’s grandfather, Shmulik Peleg, who spirited the boy away to Israel.
Eitan’s relatives in Italy say he was taken without their knowledge and are seeking his return. The child’s relatives in Israel have denied to local media that they abducted Eitan and insist they are acting in his interest.
Peleg has acknowledged driving the child from Italy into Switzerland before flying him back to Israel, telling Channel 12 that “we departed in a totally legal way.”
Peleg was questioned by Israeli police on kidnapping suspicions and placed under house arrest pending an ongoing investigation.
Italian authorities also have opened an investigation. Peleg told Israel’s Channel 12 that he had given up on contesting custody in the Italian court system and said he expected the boy to understand once he got older.
“I believe that one day Eitan will grow up and say grandfather, you did everything for me, you saved me,” he said, breaking into tears. “And my daughter, who one day will meet me in heaven, will be proud of me that I saved her son.”


Houthis must be re-designated a terrorist organization: senior Yemeni official

Houthis must be re-designated a terrorist organization: senior Yemeni official
Updated 23 September 2021

Houthis must be re-designated a terrorist organization: senior Yemeni official

Houthis must be re-designated a terrorist organization: senior Yemeni official
  • The US State Department early this year lifted a terrorist designation against the Houthis

DUBAI: The Houthi militia must be re-designated as a terrorist organization to curb its violence-driven ambitions in Yemen and force it to talk peace in the war-torn country, a senior Yemeni official said.

The brief designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization during former US President Donald Trump’s tenure was a positive step, Muammar Al-Eryani, the minister of information, was quoted by state news agency SABA as saying.

And he added that during the designation period, the Houthi’s efforts declined and its various military operations stopped.

In a virtual meeting with Peter Derrek Hof, the Dutch ambassador to Yemen, Al-Eryani called on the international community and the European Union to take serious steps to re-designate the Iran-backed group as a terrorist organization.

The US State Department earlier this year lifted the terrorist designation against the Houthis that the Trump administration issued during its final days on the grounds that it would cause more suffering to millions of Yemenis than the militia force.

Al-Eryani emphasized that the Yemeni government made concessions to various peace efforts to ‘reach peace and in order to end the war imposed by the Iran-backed Houthi militia.’

Meanwhile, foreign affairs minister Ahmad Awadh bin Mubarak and his Irish counterpart Simon Coveney met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s meetings to discuss latest developments in Yemen.

The two discussed the Houthi militia’s military escalation in Marib and targeting populated areas, Iran’s role in destabilizing Yemen and the region, as well as how the UN Security Council could help achieve lasting peace in the country.