Did Al Qaeda assassinate a US Embassy security official in Yemen? (+video)
A masked gunman killed a Yemeni security official who was investigating last month's attack on the US Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen.
A masked gunman assassinated a Yemeni security official who worked for the U.S. Embassy in a drive-by shooting Thursday near his home in the capital, officials said, adding the assault bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida's Yemen branch.
The attack comes amid amid a sharp deterioration of security in Yemen and several other Muslim countries since the collapse of police states controlled by autocratic leaders during a wave of uprisings known as the Arab Spring.
An elite team of some 50 Marines that was sent to Sanaa to bolster security at the U.S. Embassy after a Sept. 13 attack by protesters was scheduled to leave later Thursday and it was not clear if the attack would affect those plans, Yemeni officials said.
The officials noted it was similar to a series of other recent assaults by Al-Qaida's Yemen branch, although they said it was too early to confirm the group's involvement. Washington considers the Yemen-based Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, the most dangerous offshoot of the terror network. It has also been increasingly targeting Yemeni intelligence, military and security officials in retaliation for a U.S.-backed government offensive in the south.
Yemeni security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information, identified the slain embassy security official as Qassem Aqlani, in his 50s.