Gunman kills French manager of Austrian oil firm in Yemen, says security official

By Ahmed Al-haj, AP
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gunman shoots dead Frenchman in Yemen

SAN’A, Yemen — A Yemeni security official says that a gunman shot and killed the French manager of Austrian oil and gas company OMV outside the capital.

The official said the attacker was believed to be a security guard at the company’s compound outside San’a, but the motive was not immediately known.

The Frenchman died shortly after being transferred to a hospital for treatment, he added.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The shooting took place the same day a British diplomatic motorcade was attacked in the capital.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

SAN’A, Yemen (AP) — Gunmen fired a rocket against a convoy carrying a senior British diplomat in Yemen’s capital on Wednesday, damaging a car and wounding four people amid heightened fears about growing al-Qaida influence in the impoverished Arab nation.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, but Yemeni authorities recently boosted security around embassies in the capital after receiving information that the terror network was planning an attack.

The explosion came a day after a visit by third-ranking U.S. diplomat William Burns to discuss the security situation and less than six months after a suicide bomber attacked the British ambassador’s car in San’a.

The attacks have cast doubt on the effectiveness of the Yemeni government’s U.S.-backed campaign against al-Qaida militants, who have found a haven in parts of the rugged, mountainous nation where the central government’s control is weak.

The convoy targeted Wednesday was carrying the British Embassy’s deputy chief of mission, who was not injured. One other embassy staff member was lightly wounded in the attack, a British Foreign Office official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with department policy.

The embassy’s armored car was struck by shrapnel and three bystanders also were wounded, a Yemeni security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

In April, the British ambassador was targeted by a suicide bomber who blew himself up near the diplomat’s armored car in a poor neighborhood of the capital. The ambassador was unharmed.

Yemen says it is waging an aggressive campaign to uproot al-Qaida, and Washington has earmarked some $150 million in military assistance to the government to help combat the threat with training, equipment and intelligence help.

Burns said Tuesday that the U.S. will continue to support in its fight against terrorism.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, an offshoot of Osama bin Laden’s terror network, was formed more than a year ago when Yemen and Saudi militant groups merged. Militants are believed to have built up strongholds in remote parts of the country, allying with powerful tribes that resent the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The group’s fighters attacked the U.S. Embassy in San’a twice in 2008, and earlier this year a number of Western embassies, including the U.S. and British, shut down for days in response to threats of attack.

The Nigerian suspect in the failed Christmas Day plot to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner has said he received training from al-Qaida militants in Yemen, according to U.S. investigators. In February, the offshoot’s military commander, Qassim al-Raimi, warned of further attacks against Americans.


Associated Press Writer Danica Kirka contributed to this report from London.

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