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- ABBIE CHEESEMAN The Daily Telegraph

At least 26 people were killed and 60 injured when two explosions struck Yemen's Aden airport Wednesday as the country's newly sworn-in unity government stepped off a plane from Saudi Arabia.

Videos showed the blast shaking the ground as the cabinet was disembarki­ng, with people scattering for safety as plumes of smoke billowed out of the airport terminal.

As the death toll began to creep up, images were shared of a charred body near the terminal building and the injured trying to move.

Yasmine al-awadhi, the deputy minister for housing, and Adeeb al- Janani, a journalist, were among those reported to have been killed. Other government officials are said to have been wounded as well as foreign aid workers.

Most of the casualties are reported to be civilians and airport staff.

Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, the Yemeni prime minister, condemned the incident as a “cowardly terrorist attack.”

About four hours later, Saeed said the cabinet would remain in the city despite the explosions and called for unity.

Within minutes of the prime minister tweeting his comments, Reuters reported another explosion was heard around Maashq Palace, where the cabinet had been taken after the airport explosion. There were not any immediate reports of casualties.

Yemen's internatio­nally recognized government and southern separatist­s formed a power-sharing cabinet on Dec. 18, forging a joint front against the Houthi rebels who have seized the capital Sana'a and much of the north.

The cabinet's return to the temporary capital of Aden was a signal of the new political allegiance and closing of a major rift that had threatened to push Yemen into further violence.

The new unity government was formed of separate groups backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates respective­ly. The Houthi rebels are aligned with Iran, creating a proxy war.

Saeed said that the attack was part of a war being waged against the Yemeni state.

“This will only push us to fulfil our duties until the coup is over and stability is secured,” he said.

“We are sure (the airport attack) is a terrorist missile attack by the Houthi militia against the arrival of the prime minister and the cabinet,” a Yemeni government official told The Daily Telegraph, speculatin­g that the weapon was launched from an airbase in the city of Taiz.

No group has yet claimed responsibi­lity for the attack. The type of munition and the source of the attack are also not yet known.

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