Airport attack in Yemen could amount to a war crime, suggests UN Envoy

Close-up view of Yemen on a map Close-up view of Yemen on a map Photo by KeithBinns on iStock

01 January 2021

UN Special Envoy Martin Griffith condemned a fatal attack against the Government of Yemen, describing it as a potential war crime

On 30 December 2020, at least 26 people were killed and more than 60 were injured in a fatal attack against the newly formed Government of Yemen. Video footage of the attack shows a large explosion while passengers were disembarking a plane at Aden airport, followed by heavy smoke and gunfire. Witnesses of the attack claim they heard two explosions and suggest it could have been a drone attack.   

The plane carrying the Yemeni Prime Minister and Cabinet politicians was travelling from Saudi Arabia, and reports suggest that fatalities include civilians, aid workers, journalists and government officials. Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, however, reassured the public that he and his cabinet are well. The attack against the Yemeni Cabinet is a result of a six-year-long conflict between a Saudi-backed coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemen Government and the Houthi rebel group known as Ansar Allah. The Interior Ministry of Yemen blamed the Houthis for the attack, however, Houthi official Muhammad al-Bukhaiti denied any involvement in the incident. The attack at Aden airport is one of many against the civilians of Yemen since the fighting erupted in 2015, with the conflict reportedly resulting in more than 110,000 deaths.

The United Nations Special Envoy Martin Griffith expressed his condolences to the families of those killed and condemned the unacceptable attack against the Yemeni civilians, calling it a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law that could amount to a war crime. Moreover, Mr. Griffith expressed his support to and solidarity with President Hadi and the Government and concluded that the United Nations will continue to support Yemenis in order to achieve a peaceful and stable future. 


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Author: Christina Michael; Editor: Andrew Goodel

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