SANAA: Gunmen shot dead a German security guard employed by the German Embassy in Yemen’s capital Sanaa Sunday as he was leaving a supermarket, Yemeni security officials said, in an attack they said bore the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda.
The guard was gunned down in Sanaa’s Hadda district, where the embassy is also based, the latest in a series of attacks on foreign and local officials in the U.S.-allied state, which is battling one of the most active branches of Al-Qaeda.
Pan-Arab news channel Al-Arabiya reported that the guard had been shot dead as assailants tried to kidnap the German ambassador Carola Mueller-Holtkemper, who escaped.
However, a Yemen Foreign Ministry spokesman told AFP that Ambassador Carola Mueller-Holtkemper was not the target of the attack as she “is currently outside the country.”
But “apparently there was an attempt to kidnap her bodyguard, and he was shot dead when he resisted.”
In Berlin, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said only that the government was “making intensive efforts to clear up the facts.”
Mueller-Holtkemper had only recently arrived in Yemen and presented her credentials to Yemeni authorities less than a week ago, a statement on the German Embassy’s website showed.
Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has attempted to attack several large Western targets, including airliners and is believed to have been behind a series of killings of foreign and local officials in the country since 2011.
In November last year gunmen shot dead a Saudi diplomat and his Yemeni bodyguard in Sanaa in an attack believed to be the work of the group. A month earlier, masked gunmen killed a Yemeni man who worked in the security office of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa.
Germany was one of several Western countries to close their Yemen embassies in early August after a U.S. warning of a possible major militant attack in the Middle East. The mission reopened after a two-week closure.
Demonstrators angry at a film they said was blasphemous to Islam attacked the U.S. Embassy in Yemen in September 2012. Hundreds of Yemenis broke through the main gate of the heavily fortified compound, smashed windows of security offices outside the embassy and burned cars.
AQAP said in a statement Sunday that it was behind an attack on an army base in the southeast of the country last week in protest of the army’s cooperation with the U.S. and vowed to continue its “holy war” against Yemeni forces.
Also Sunday, gunmen kidnapped a Sierra Leone citizen who works for the United Nations Children’s Fund, diplomatic sources told AFP.
The man was seized at gunpoint from a U.N. vehicle in northern Sanaa, the sources said, adding that his Yemeni driver was not kidnapped.