Al-Qaida assassinates intelligence official in southern Yemen
A Yemeni senior intelligence official was shot dead late Saturday by al-Qaida-linked gunmen in Yemen's southern province of al-Bayda, said an official of the Interior Ministry, Xinhua reported.
"Eyeda bin Faraj, the colonel of al-Bayda's provincial intelligence service, was shot dead Saturday night in al-Bayda's central city by al-Qaida militants led by Tariq al-Dhahab," the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Yemeni intelligence personnel have been the key target of the al- Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the past several months. The group vowed to "eliminate all high-ranking personnel of the Yemeni government intelligence agencies." Al-Bayda, about 130 km south of the capital Sanaa, has recently witnessed growing activities of al-Qaida, known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, according to security officials there. Last month, al-Qaida leader Tariq al-Dhahab made a deal with the Yemeni transitional government, under which the government released 15 al-Qaida prisoners in return for the withdraw of around 1,000 al-Qaida militants from al-Bayda's town of Radda after al-Dhahab's group held it for a week. Al-Dhahab, a relative of the Yemeni-born U.S. cleric Anwar al- Awlaki, hosted Awlaki for months before the radical cleric was killed by unmanned drone last September, according to a source close to the al-Qaida group. The AQAP took full control of several cities in the restive north, south and southeast of Yemen, as the Yemeni government forces engaged in fierce battles with the militants over the past months, leaving hundreds of people killed.
On Friday, the terrorist group said it agreed to start negotiations offered by the Yemeni government to reach a ceasefire deal in the southern war-torn province of Abyan.
However, Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi told foreign ambassadors in Sanaa two days ago that his government " will not negotiate or seek compromise with terrorist groups."