Al Qaeda assassinates Yemeni intelligence officers

Sanaa, Sep 7 (IANS) Al Qaeda militants assassinated two senior Yemeni intelligence officers in the southern part of the country, officials said Friday.

Military intelligence officer Colonel Abulmajid al-Salmi was shot in the head near his home in Lahj province, Xinhua reported citing a security official.

He said the assailants were riding a motorcycle and killed al-Salmi late Thursday.

The 50-year-old was also head of a social, sports and youth club in al-Majhafa area in Lahj's Tibn district.

A provincial spokesperson of the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said their investigations in the past weeks in Lahj and nearby provinces of Abyan and Shabwa revealed that "Colonel al-Salmi was one of the officials responsible for recruiting local youths to place electronic chips on targets to instruct the US drone strikes".

US drones increased air raid last month against the AQAP in Yemen's southern regions after Washington temporarily closed its embassy in Sanaa due to security threats. The Yemeni government said more than 40 suspected terrorists were killed in the strikes.

The Yemeni Defence Ministry said that Colonel Omar Bdyee bin Amro with the Political Security Agency's branch in Hadramout province was killed Friday afternoon.

The ministry said that "two Al Qaeda gunmen on a motorbike fired at the Colonel Amro after he finished Friday's prayers in a mosque in Hadramout's district of al-Quton.

More than 70 intelligence and security officers have been killed in attacks in the past two years, according to recent statistics by the Yemeni interior ministry.

The Yemen-based AQAP, which emerged in January 2009, is considered the most strategic threat to the country and its neighbouring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

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