Yemeni air force officer killed in gunmen attack

Photo: Yemeni air force officer killed in gunmen attack / Arab World

A senior officer of the Yemeni Air Force was killed in a drive-by shooting attack by al-Qaida suspects in the southeastern province of Hadramout on Friday evening, a security official told Xinhua.

"The assailants riding a motorbike opened fire and killed the officer of the Yemeni Air Force brigade named as Nasser in Ghayl Bawazir region in Hadramout province," the local security official said on condition of anonymity.

A military commander in Hadramout confirmed the incident "the officer was killed when masked gunmen on a motorcycle riddled his body with bullets while he was heading towards the mosque for prayers."

Witnesses said that "the officer died instantly on the spot and the unidentified attackers fled the scene."

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Yemeni military officials blamed militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot for a series of assassinations and armed attacks, mostly in the country's southern parts.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, which emerged in January 2009, is considered one of the greatest threats to the Yemeni government and neighboring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

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