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SANA’A: Gunmen shot dead a Saudi diplomat and his Yemeni bodyguard in Yemen’s capital Sana’a yesterday in an attack a local security source said appeared to be the work of Al Qaeda.
The killing, the latest attack on security officials and politicians in the US-allied state, underscores the challenges facing Yemen since an uprising that began last year
toppled President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Attackers in a four-wheel drive vehicle opened fire on a car carrying Whaled Al Enizi, an aide to the Saudi military attache, near his house in a neighbourhood of Sana’a, a Yemeni security official said. The diplomat and his Yemeni guard died instantly.
No one has claimed responsibility but the security official said authorities were “assuming that Al Qaeda was behind it”.
“If this is the case, it would be the first time Al Qaeda has used a car to carry out an assassination,” he said. The official said previously militants have used motorbikes, often without licence plates.
AQAP, regarded as Al Qaeda’s strongest regional wing, has mounted operations in Saudi Arabia and tried to launch attacks against the United States.
Restoring stability in Yemen is an international priority because of its strategic position adjoining not only oil exporter Saudi Arabia but also major shipping lanes.
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took over as head of state in a Gulf-brokered power-transfer deal in February, and later Yemen’s army drove Islamist fighters out of southern strongholds in a military operation backed by the United States. REUTERS