Unidentified assailants shot dead a senior Yemeni air force officer on Saturday in the eastern province of Hadramawt, where Al-Qaeda remains active despite a government crackdown, a security official said.
The gunman sped off on the back of a motorbike after killing Colonel Yahya al-Umayssi, commander of the air force detachment at the town of Seiyun, in the inland north of the province, an official said.
A witness said that both assailants were masked but that the gunman removed his mask before opening fire, saying: "In the name of God, Allah is great," as he did so.
There was no immediate claim for the attack but loyalists of Al-Qaeda have carried out a spate of assassinations of security officers in the south and east of Yemen in relation for a U.S.-backed crackdown on its network.
Around 70 security officers have been killed in the region in the past two years in attacks attributed to Al-Qaeda, officials say.
Al-Qaeda fighters retreated to mountainous areas of the east after being forced out of urban centers in the south during an army offensive in May 2012.
Al-Qaeda had taken advantage of a weakening of central government control during the 2011 uprising that forced veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh from power to seize large swathes of the south and east.
Yemen gunmen kill senior air force officer