Yemen official survives assassination attempt

New information minister fired on in capital, as officials say drone attack in south kills up to 15 'al-Qaeda' fighters.

    Ali Ahmed al-Amrani took the post in December after President Ali Abdullah Saleh handed over power

    Yemen's newly appointed information minister has escaped an assassination attempt as he was leaving government headquarters in the capital Sanaa.

    Ali Ahmed al-Amrani was unhurt in Tuesday's attack, that left his vehicle riddled with bullets fired as the minister was leaving a weekly cabinet meeting.

    "I don't know the reasons behind assassination attempt," Amrani told Al Jazeera.

    "I don't have personal problems with anyone and I don't think my position to lead to such an act, the tension and mobilisation in Yemen are increasing and having time to time having some illegal consequences."

    The minister, a member of the opposition, was named to the post in December as part of a deal that saw President Ali Abdullah Saleh hand over power to his deputy.

    Drone attacks

    Meanwhile, air raids in the south killed up to 15 fighters alleged to have links with al-Qaeda, including a regional leader, Yemeni officials said on Tuesday.

    Local residents told the Reuters news agency that an unidentified drone carried out the attack on two vehicles travelling east of the city of Loder in Abyan province.

    "We think they were carried out by American planes," a tribal official told the AFP news agency.

    Al Qaeda-linked groups have reportedly used Yemen’s political turmoil to gain a foothold in the south.

    Kidnapping

    Yemeni tribesmen kidnapped six aid workers from a tourist area west of Sanaa on Tuesday, tribal sources and police said.

    State news agency Saba said the abductees were a German, a Colombian, an Iraqi, a Palestinian and two Yemenis.

    Tribal sources earlier said three foreigners and three Yemenis working for an international aid group were seized.

    Their abductors are demanding the release of people held by Yemeni authorities.

    Kidnappings of foreigners and Yemenis are common in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state, where hostages are often used by disgruntled tribesmen to press demands on authorities. Hostages are often freed unharmed.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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