Dismissed general closes Sana’a airport
Mohammad Saad Al-Din, an officer at Sana’a International Airport, said that all operations at the airport were suspended at 6am after gunfire and shells were fired into the from Dailami Military Air Base close to the airport.
General Mohammad Saleh Al-Ahmar, former chief of the Air Forces and Air Defense resides at the nearby airbase.
The new president Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi dismissed Mohammad Saleh Al-Ahmar from his position on Friday evening and replaced him with Rashid Al-Janad. Al-Ahmar is the half brother of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Um Khalid who lives in Wadi Ahmed, a neighborhood located close to the airport, affirmed that she heard the sound of shooting at 6am, but was unsure whether shells landed at the airport or not.
Travelers coming from Saudi Arabia said that they were informed that their flight had been diverted from Sana’a to Aden.
A source at the airport told Marib Press that they had received serious threats early Saturday morning that any planes attempting to take off would be fired upon. Incoming flights were diverted to Aden to avoid any danger to passengers.
“These threats followed the dismissal of Al-Ahmar,” the source added.
Military sources told Marib Press that Al-Ahmar had rejected his dismissal by republican decree from President Hadi. They also said that Al-Ahmar had ordered his deputy, Abdullah Al-Basha, to lead a rebellion with personnel from the air force.
The source said that Al-Basha has refused to implement President Hadi’s decree, and has laid down conditions from Saleh’s relatives demanding the dismissal of General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar and the departure of the sons of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ahmar.
General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar turned against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in March 2011 vowing to protect anti-government protesters. The tribesmen of Sadiq Al-Ahmar, who succeeded his father Abdullah Al-Ahmar, fought fierce battles against government troops in Sana’a from May 2011.