Sanaa, Oct 24: Suspected Al Qaeda gunmen shot dead an officer of the military intelligence agency near his home in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa Thursday, a government official told Xinhua.
“The Al Qaeda gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire at Col. Abdulrahman al-Shami, who works in the military intelligence department, as he got out of his residential building in central Sanaa,” the government official said on condition of anonymity.
Eyewitnesses told Xinhua that the unknown attackers fled the crime scene after the incident.
State-run Saba news agency confirmed the incident saying that “criminal elements assassinated Colonel al-Shami while he was passing through a main street in central Sanaa”.
“Police authorities have launched an investigation to track the terrorists,” it reported.
The drive-by shooting came a few days after Yemeni security forces foiled an attempt by hundreds of Al Qaeda inmates who attempted to escape the main intelligence prison in Sanaa.
The Al Qaeda prisoners stabbed an officer of the criminal investigation department and a number of guards inside the jail before rioting and breaking the prison gates, according to local sources.
Yemeni security services have repeatedly blamed militants of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda offshoot for a series of assassination attacks, mostly in the country’s southern regions.
The Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which emerged in January 2009, is considered the most strategic threat to the Yemeni government and neighbouring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.