Source: Reuters, 14/08/2010
SANAA - A Yemeni intelligence officer was killed by gunmen in south Yemen, a security official said on Saturday, in an attack blamed on al Qaeda.
The officer was gunned down by two men as he walked outside of his home late on Friday in the flashpoint southern province of Lahej, the official said, adding that the attackers were suspected al Qaeda operatives.
Al Qaeda in Yemen previously focused on high-impact strikes against Western and Saudi targets, but appears now to be targeting government forces in response to enhanced Yemen-U.S. security coordination in government crackdowns on the militant group.
Impoverished Yemen is also struggling to curb a rising southern separatist movement and cement a fragile truce with northern rebels.
The Arabian Peninsula state, neighbour to top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, has faced Western and Saudi pressure to quell domestic conflict in order to focus on al Qaeda.
Yemen leapt to the forefront of Western security concerns after al Qaeda's Yemen-based regional wing claimed responsibility for a failed attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound plane in December.
Al Qaeda in Yemen has claimed responsibility for over five attacks on Yemeni government and security targets since June that have left dozens dead. It recently issued a statement threatening to attack targets in Saudi Arabia.