Al-Qaeda suspects on motorbike kill Yemen intelligence officer

A soldier stands next to a military vehicle blocking al-Sabeen street, which leads to the presidential palace in Sanaa May 10, 2014. (Reuters)

Suspected al-Qaeda gunmen riding on the back of a motorbike shot dead a Yemeni intelligence officer in the south of the country on Saturday, a security official told AFP.

The colonel was in his car at a market in Taben, a town in the southern Lahij province, when one of the two attackers opened fire at him from a Kalashnikov, the official said.

The officer was killed on the spot and the attackers fled the scene, said the source blaming al-Qaeda for the killing.

A cheap form of transport frequently replacing taxis in the impoverished country, motorbikes have become a tool for hit-and-run shootings that have killed dozens of officials in recent years.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), seen by Washington as the network’s deadliest franchise, has been blamed for most of the motorbike attacks on the security forces despite never claiming them.

In December, Yemen enforced a temporary ban on motorbikes in the capital to prevent attacks as the politicians engaged in a national dialogue talks.

Allegedly involved

On Wednesday, Yemeni police killed two al-Qaeda suspects who were allegedly involved in a series of hit-and-run attacks against security personnel in the capital.

The next day, however, a gunman riding on the back of a motorbike shot dead a Yemeni intelligence officer and his son in the southeastern city of Mukalla in broad daylight.

Al-Qaeda exploited the 11-month-long 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of longtime strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh to seize large swathes of southern and eastern Yemen.

The army recaptured several major towns in Abyan and Shabwa provinces further west in 2012 but has struggled to reassert control in rural areas despite recruiting militia allies among the local tribes.

Troops launched a new offensive in the two provinces on April 29 and have entered a string of smaller towns.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43