Gunmen kill Yemeni colonel in capital: security official

ADEN Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:57am EDT

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ADEN (Reuters) - Gunmen on a motor bike shot dead a senior Yemeni intelligence service officer on Thursday, in the latest of a string of drive-by shootings targeting the country's top brass.

Colonel Abdulrahman Mohammed al-Shami was leaving his home in the capital Sanaa' at noon when one of the two unidentified gunmen opened fire on him and fled, a local security official said. The colonel died immediately.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack, but authorities have blamed Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda for a string of similar shootings that have killed more than 80 officers in various parts of Yemen over the past two years.

Tackling lawlessness in Yemen, which lies near important oil shipment routes and borders the world's biggest oil exporter Saudi Arabia, is an international priority for the United States and other Western countries. It is home to an al Qaeda wing that has planned international bomb attacks.

As well as battling an Islamist insurgency in the south, the Yemeni government faces a southern separatist movement and a revolt among some tribes in the impoverished north of the country.

(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf, writing by Reem Shamseddine, editing by Sami Aboudi and Gareth Jones)

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