3 killed in attack on Yemen Shiite rebel leader

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Gunmen in Yemen on Saturday killed three guards of a leader of the Huthi Shiite rebels who escaped the assassination bid in Sanaa where he is taking part in a national dialogue, witnesses said.

The gunmen opened fire at the vehicle of Abdulwahid Abu Ras, the rebel chief in the northern province of Al-Jawf, in Nasr Street in the capital shortly after the morning session of the talks, witnesses said.

Three guards were killed and two were wounded, they said.

Saba state news agency cited the head of the national dialogue, Abdulwahab al-Ansi, as condemning the attack on Abu Ras during the afternoon session of talks.

“Those behind the attack want us to withdraw from this conference, but we will stay,” said Huthi MP Abdulkarim al-Jadban, addressing participants in the talks.

Yemeni factions began last week a national dialogue aimed at drafting a new constitution and an electoral law for the 2014 general election and presidential polls.

The dialogue, scheduled to run for six months, brings together 565 representatives of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country’s various political groups -- from secessionists in the south to Zaidi Shiite rebels in the north, in addition to civil society representatives.

The negotiations are being held under the U.N.-brokered deal that eased former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office in February 2012 following an 11-month uprising against his 33-year rule.

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