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Middle East

Al-Qaeda militants shoot dead Yemeni 'gay'

  • Birds fly near al-Saleh mosque in Sanaa, July 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

ADEN, Yemen: Two militants from an Al-Qaeda linked group shot dead a Yemeni man in the southern Lahj province, accusing him of being a homosexual, a police source said on Tuesday.

The attackers from the Ansar al-Sharia group, which is on the U.S. terror list, opened fire at 20-year-old Hashem al-Asmi late Monday in the provincial capital of Huj, the source told AFP, adding that the gunmen fled on their motorbike after killing Asmi.

The attackers who "accused the man of being gay... belong to Ansar al-Shariah," the source said on condition of anonymity.

Ansar al-Sharia is the local branch of Al-Qaeda in Yemen where the network, although weakened, is still active mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the country.

Al-Qaeda loyalists seized large swathes of Yemen's south and east in 2011, taking advantage of a decline in central government control during an 11-month uprising that forced veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power.

Yemeni government troops have since recaptured much of the territory with support from U.S. drone strikes, but the jihadists retain bases in the desert east and frequently carry out hit-and-run attacks using unlicensed motorbikes.

During their control of these areas, the militants had tired to impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law) on residents, executing or lashing citizens they accused of various crimes. They had also severed the hands of many accused of burglary.

 
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