SANAA: An Iranian diplomat was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting outside the ambassador’s residence in the Yemeni capital yesterday, the third attack on embassy personnel in recent months.
A medic at Sanaa’s Modern German Hospital said the diplomat, Ali Asghar Assadi, had been “hit in the shoulder, abdomen and stomach.”
“He was taken to the operating theatre then transferred to intensive care but died after an hour and half.”
Iran confirmed the death and swiftly condemned what it said was a new kidnap attempt against one of its diplomats in Yemen. In July, embassy staffer Nour-Ahmad Nikbakht was abducted by suspected Al Qaeda militants, and tribal sources say he remains in captivity.
“Ali Asghar Assadi, the Iranian diplomat who had been injured in the terrorist attack in Sanaa, was martyred,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told the official IRNA news agency.
Yemen’s charge d’affaires in Tehran was later summoned to the ministry, where officials conveyed “strong protest.”
Iran also demanded Sanaa swiftly find the culprits behind the shooting, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported.
Yemen’s foreign ministry denounced the attack and said Assadi’s murder was aimed at damaging relations with Iran, the official Saba news agency said.
The attack comes amid deadly fighting in northern Yemen between Sunni Islamists and Zaidi Shia rebels whom their opponents charge are receiving support from Shia Iran.
In southern Yemen, army shelling killed a pregnant woman and her young daughters, medics said yesterday.
In separate violence, gunmen shot dead an army intelligence office and two soldiers, security officials said.
A shell slammed into the home of Yassin Said, in the southern town of Daleh, wounding him seriously and killing his wife and their three- and five-year-old daughters late on Friday, medics said.
South African hostage still alive
JOHANNESBURG: A South African teacher held hostage in Yemen, whose kidnappers had threatened to kill him, is still alive but in poor health, an organisation working to free him said yesterday. A deadline to pay $3m in ransom to free 56-year-old Pierre Korkie expired on Friday, but a Yemeni mediator confirmed that it has now been extended for three weeks. Korkie was abducted along with his wife in May in the city of Taiz by members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The couple had lived and worked in Yemen for four years. Korkie’s wife was freed on January 10.