Officials: Airport used by UAE as prison in Yemen reopened

November 27, 2019 GMT

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni officials say an airport in a southern city has been reopened after a five-year closure, during which United Arab Emirates forces used it as a military base and a prison.

They say the first civilian flight in five years landed Wednesday at Al-Rayyan Airport in Mukalla in Hadramout province, about two months after UAE handed over the facility to Yemeni authorities.

The officials say the detainees, mostly al-Qaida and Islamic State militants, were moved to other UAE-run prisons in Yemen.

The officials demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief the media.

Al-Rayyan Airport was closed after al-Qaeda took control of Mukalla in 2015. After the liberation of the city in April 2016, the facility has become a military base and headquarters of the UAE and Saudi forces fighting the Houthi rebels.