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High-ranking intelligence officer killed by gunmen in southern Yemen


13:43, December 21, 2011

ADEN, Yemen, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Masked gunmen opened fire on a military vehicle Tuesday evening, killing a high-ranking officer of the Yemeni intelligence agency in the southern province of Lahj, a security official told Xinhua.

Colonel Mohammed Saleh al-Tawos, head of the intelligence service in Lahj city, was killed when two unidentified assailants on a motorbike opened fire on his military vehicle in the center of Houta city, the provincial capital of Lahj, the local security official said on condition of anonymity.

The assailants fled the scene immediately after raining the officer's vehicle with bullets from automatic rifles in a busy street, the officer said.

He added that the attack bore the hallmarks of the al-Qaida group and aimed to distract the government forces from chasing the terrorist group's members in the neighboring province of Abyan.

Taking advantage of Yemen's unrest to bolster their presence in the country's southern and eastern regions, militants of the al- Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have been launching sporadic shoot-outs and motorbike attacks on security and intelligence officials during the past few months.

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