Sunday, June 10, 2012

Al-Qaida assassinates senior official in Yemeni capital

SANAA, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Al-Qaida gunmen assassinated a senior Yemeni official in the capital of Sanaa, an official of the Interior Ministry told Xinhua on Saturday.

"Two al-Qaida gunmen on a motorbike intercepted the convoy of Sheikh Abdulrahem al-Humaikani on Friday afternoon on Khulan Street in the southern neighborhood of the location of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa. Al-Humaikani was killed and several of his bodyguards were injured," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Sheikh al-Humaikani, a senior member of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh's party, was a high-ranking security official and a member of the local council in the southeastern province of al- Bayda, where al-Qaida militants have strong presence.

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi described the incident as a "terrorist act" in a letter of condolence to al-Humaikani's family, which was carried by the Defense Ministry's website.

The al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, known locally as Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law) seized parts of al-Bayda's largest city of Radda, some 170 km southeast of Sanaa, in mid- January, but they left the town after reaching a deal with the central government.

Last month, a U.S. drone strike raided a convoy of al-Qaida local leaders in al-Bayda while they were travelling across Radda city. The al-Qaida leaders survived the airstrike but three of their bodyguards were killed.

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