Yemeni forces kill three militants blamed for attack on German diplomat

SANAA Wed May 7, 2014 10:32am EDT

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SANAA (Reuters) - Yemeni forces on Wednesday killed three members of a militant cell who authorities believe carried out assassinations in the capital Sanaa and attacked a German diplomat late last month, a Yemeni official and a security source said.

The security source said special forces raided a house in the Shmailah district of south Sanaa and killed three al Qaeda militants.

"They were behind the attempted killing of the German diplomat," the security source said.

The diplomat, a political attaché, was injured during an apparent kidnapping attempt, embassy and police sources said at the time. He managed to escape gunmen who tried to block a road near the German embassy in Sanaa with a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

A Yemeni official told Reuters: "They (special forces) targeted the infamous assassination cell and one of them was the guy responsible for shooting the German embassy vehicle and the diplomat. They resisted arrest and all three were killed."

It was not immediately known whether the cell was involved in the killing on Monday of a Frenchman working as a security agent for the EU mission in Sanaa.

Yemen, home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, faces many security challenges from a stubborn Islamist insurgency, southern secessionists, occasional tribal conflicts and a rebellion by Shi'ite Muslim Houthis in the north.

The army is carrying out a big offensive against al Qaeda militants in the south of the country.

(Reporting by Yara Bayoumy and Mohammed Ghobari; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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