[QODLink]
Middle East

Iranian envoy killed in Yemen kidnap attempt

Iranian Foreign Ministry says diplomat injured when he resisted his attackers and was taken to hospital, where he died.

Last updated: 18 Jan 2014 15:46
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Sectarian rivalry between Shia Muslim Houthis and Sunni Salafis has increased in northern Yemen [Reuters]

An Iranian diplomat was killed in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, on Saturday when he resisted gunmen who were trying to kidnap him near the ambassador's residence, the Iranian Foreign Ministry and Yemeni security sources have said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told Fars News Agency that the diplomat was seriously injured when he resisted his attackers and was taken to a Sanaa hospital, where he died.

"We are seriously following up the dimensions of this terrorist action with the relevant Yemeni government officials," Afkham said.

"Unidentified assailants in a van fired on the diplomat three times as he was leaving the ambassador's residence near a shopping centre in Hadda" - the main diplomatic district of Sanaa - a police source told AFP news agency.

Kidnapping of foreigners in Yemen is common, often carried out by disgruntled tribesmen seeking to press the government to free jailed relatives or to improve public services, or by fighters linked to al-Qaeda.

Another Iranian diplomat, Nour-Ahmad Nikbakht, who was kidnapped in Sanaa last July, remains in captivity.

Sectarian rivalry 

Sectarian rivalry between Shia Muslim Houthis and ultra-conservative Sunni Salafis has increased in northern Yemen in the last several months, with at least 210 people killed.

The violence erupted on October 30 when Houthi rebels, who control much of the northern Saada province, accused Salafis in the town of Damaj of recruiting thousands of foreign fighters to prepare to attack them.

Fighting between the two sides in Saada and adjacent provinces stopped as a ceasefire deal took hold a week ago.

That deal gave the Salafis four days to relocate about 250km southwest to the Red Sea port of Hudaida.

The sectarian rivalry has cast a shadow over reconciliation efforts in Yemen, a US-ally that is home to one of the most active wings of the al-Qaeda.

The country, in turmoil since a popular uprising ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011, is also facing southern secessionists and an economic crisis.

325

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Assam officials upset that WWII-era Stillwell Road won't be used in transnational highway linking four Asian nations.
Informal health centres are treating thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey, easing the pressure on local hospitals.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Wastewater ponds dot the landscape in US states that produce gas; environmentalists say they’re a growing threat.
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
join our mailing list