Yemen airport shut after military base explosions

by Alister POOLE on October 31, 2011

Yemen has closed its international airport, located in the country’s capital Sanaa, after loud explosions were reported by those at an adjacent military base.

A series of blasts was heard at the al-Daylami-based station, resulting in flights being rerouted from Sanaa Airport to the one situated in Aden. Recently, Sanaa has been overtaken by fighting between the forces that are loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president, and those that oppose him. On a regular basis, the latter mentioned party protests in thousands for an end to Saleh’s 33-year rule.

Residents and witnesses insisted that at least one shell hit the air base. An aviation official spoke to a French news agency and explained that there were four explosions in total at the air force base that runs alongside the international airport. He added that two fighter jets also went up in flames.

As of yet, no-one has said that they carried out any attacks and thankfully not a single casualty has been reported thus far. As a security measure, flights have been diverted the southern Yemen and that area’s main city of Aden. Reuters news agency quoted rural tribal sources as stating that four people were killed by military shelling in Arhab, an area north of Sanaa, overnight.

Although the UN Security Council has made calls for President Saleh to resign from his role immediately, he remains defiant while still failing to implement any kind of political solution that is based on plans presented to him by the GCC – the Gulf Co-operation Council.

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