On 30 December 2020, a large-scale blast occurred at Aden International Airport (OYAA/ADE) as ministers of the new government of Yemen were disembarking from an aircraft that had just arrived at the facility from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital. While the cause of the blast is unclear, reports indicate three projectiles landed on the arrival hall, causing significant damage. Yemen’s communication minister, who was on board the aircraft, suggested that explosives-laden drones were the source of the explosion; however, footage from the scene indicates ballistic missiles may have been used. At least 16 people were killed in the blast and 60 others were wounded; the death toll may rise. However, all Cabinet ministers escaped unharmed. The Yemeni government has blamed Houthi rebels for the attack, although there are reports that the militant group has denied its involvement. Following the attack, Yemen Airways announced that its flights were being diverted to Hadhramaut’s Seiyun Airport (OYSY/GXF).

Analyst Comment: Yemeni authorities formed a new unity government on 18 December, which brings together officials from the internationally recognized government and southern separatists in an effort to form a unified effort against Houthi militants based in northern Yemen. Considering the timing of the attack, it is highly likely that officials with Yemen’s newly formed government were the primary target of the attack. Aden International Airport is currently the only operational facility in Yemen and provides key access to foreign entities operating in the country. Attacks on the airport are not common due to heightened security measures at the facility.