Situation Report

Senior UN officials condemn attack on Aden airport, which caused multiple civilian casualties, as new government arrived in Yemen

An attack on Aden airport on 30 December, as members of the newly formed cabinet returned to Yemen, caused multiple civilian deaths and injuries. At least 16 people were killed and 98 others were injured in missile attacks on the airport. Three staff from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were among the dead. The injured included three more ICRC staff, and nine women, two foreign nationals, eight media staff and four children. Government officials, security and military leaders and soldiers were also injured. Work is ongoing to confirm the number of civilian casualties caused by the attack. An explosion was also reported close to the Mashiq Palace, where cabinet members were taken following the incident at the airport.

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres; Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC), Mark Lowcock; and UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, all condemned the attack, extended condolences to the families of those who died and wished a speedy recovery to the injured. The Secretary-General reaffirmed, “the steadfast commitment of the United Nations to support efforts to resume a Yemeni-led and Yemeni-owned political process to reach an inclusive, negotiated settlement to the conflict.” The ERC indicated that, “This tragic event is an urgent reminder that all parties in the conflict must respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law”; while the Special Envoy stated that, “This unacceptable act of violence is a tragic reminder of the importance of bringing Yemen urgently back on the path towards peace.” ICRC expressed profound sadness at the casualties among its staff, “The Yemeni people have endured a terrible amount of suffering over the last five years. A day like this adds even more grief both for the Red Cross family and for the Yemeni families who had loved ones killed or injured in this explosion.”

There were more attacks in Al Hudyadah and Taizz in December, pushing up the number of civilian casualties in the two governorates. The Humanitarian Coordinator a.i., Mr. Laurent Bukera, condemned an attack on the Thabet Industrial Complex in Al Hudaydah on 3 December that killed 6 workers and injured 10 others. “The parties to the conflict should stop indiscriminate attacks on civilians which are in clear violation of international humanitarian law,” said Mr. Bukera. “Instead, they should be focusing on saving millions of Yemenis from looming famine.” On 12 December, artillery shelling hit a sports centre in Taizz City, killing a father and son and injuring two other boys. “Children continue to pay the highest price in this conflict, and far too often they are paying with their lives,” said Mr. Philippe Duamelle, Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen a.i. “This is one more shocking breach of international humanitarian law,” said Mr. Duamelle. “Once again, we implore the parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations and stop killing and injuring civilians.”