U.S. EMBASSY SECURITY AIDE SHOT DEAD IN YEMEN

Wall Street Journal on October 11, 2012, reported that gunmen on motorcycles shot dead a Yemeni who held a senior security post at the U.S. embassy here, in an assassination that Yemeni officials said bore some hallmarks of an al Qaeda attack. Excerpts below:

Qassem Aqlan, a longtime member of the embassy’s security staff, was driving along a main road in the capital when he was attacked by several men, who fled unharmed. He died hours later.

The attack, coming a month after a U.S. ambassador was killed by militants in Benghazi, Libya, is likely to fan political debate over whether the Obama administration is doing enough to protect U.S. diplomatic staff and embassy employees overseas.

Hezbollah admitted to flying a drone over Israel last weekend, which the Israelis shot down. Also, a Yemeni official says Thursday’s killing of a U.S. Embassy employee in Sana’a appears to be caused by an al-Qaeda-type group.

A U.S. embassy security employee said that embassy officials had warned them about being targeted by extremists. Security personnel were told to take precautionary measures, he said.

On the same day as the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, the embassy in Yemen was raided by thousands of protesters…Protesters broke into the embassy gates and damaged property. Yemen’s Interior Ministry said more than 60 vehicles at the U.S. compound were burned by protestors, and three demonstrators were killed by security forces.

Yemen’s interior minister, Abdul Qader Qahtan, contacted U.S. embassy officials to condemn the attack. He said an investigation was under way.

The attack resembled previous attempts by al Qaeda targeting security officials and politicians. At least 19 security officials have been assassinated in Yemen this year, mostly in southern provinces. Al Qaeda accuses Yemen’s government of allying itself with the U.S., and the officials targeted were almost all involved in the country’s counterterror efforts.

[Yemen’s new president] Abdurabu Hadi, has carried out an offensive against the militant network and vowed to continue fighting al Qaeda. The group has resorted to motorcycle attacks in recent months after government forces recaptured towns previously controlled by the militants in April.

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