Gunmen wound official in Yemen, tribal dispute likely

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 25, 2013 9:32 AM

SANAA (Reuters) - Gunmen wounded a senior Yemeni government official and killed his driver when they ambushed his car in Sanaa on Monday, an attack police said was probably an act of tribal violence.

The assailants, themselves in a car, shot at the vehicle carrying Abdullah al-Fadhli, head of the State Land and Properties Department, before driving away, a state security source told Reuters.

Fadhli was wounded but his driver died, said the source, who declined to be named.

"Armed men fired heavily at the four-wheel drive for several minutes, with gunmen in the car retaliating before armed forces from a nearby checkpoint intervened," a witness told Reuters.

No one has claimed responsibility for the killing but a police official said the gunmen appeared to be "supporters of a certain tribal leader," without elaborating.

Monday's attack was the latest in a series targeting security officials and politicians in the impoverished and often chaotic Arabian Peninsula state.

Although such attacks are frequently carried out by members of the al Qaeda wing in Yemen, the country is awash with arms and law and order is weak, meaning that disputes between civilians often end in violence.

Yemen's stability is a priority for the United States and its Gulf allies because of its strategic position next to oil exporter Saudi Arabia and shipping lanes.

(Reporting By Mohammed Ghobari, Writing by Raissa Kasolowsky)