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July 22, 2015

Yemen’s Aden airport reopens as Saudi military plane arrives

Yemen’s Aden airport reopened on Wednesday with the arrival of a Saudi military plane loaded with arms for pro-government forces at the airport.

By Srivari Aishwarya

Yemen’s Aden airport reopened on Wednesday with the arrival of a Saudi military plane loaded with arms for pro-government forces.

This marks the airport’s first arrival ever since the fighting escalated in March, forcing a temporary closure.

The arrival is in line with the military campaign that has been initiated to bring the city back under the control of the government.

"Planes carrying humanitarian assistance are expected to arrive at the airport in the coming two days."

The battle at Aden International Airport broke out on 19 March, when the Yemen Army forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh attacked the airport, which was defended by soldiers and guards supporting exiled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Saleh’s forces also sent fighter planes to bomb the presidential palace.

Yemen Transport Minister Badr Basalma was quoted by the Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya television as saying: "This marks the start of the airport operation.

"Planes carrying humanitarian assistance are expected to arrive at the airport in the coming two days."

Aden International Airport manager Tarek Abdu was cited by Deutsche Welle as saying that repair work was being carried out at the airport to fix the damage sustained over the past few months.

Abdu further mentioned that "resumption of commercial flights could take far longer."

Meanwhile, Saudi-backed militiamen were fighting with Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the northern approaches to Aden, exchanging heavy artillery fire.

The militiamen were reportedly advancing to Yemen’s largest air base, 60km north of Aden, with plans to link up with other anti-Houthi forces approaching from the base’s northern end.

Last week, forces loyal to Hadi seized the Aden airport from Iran-backed Houthi rebels, with support from Saudi Arabia-led forces.

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