News / Middle East

Frenchman Killed in Yemeni Capital; Two Wounded

Yemeni soldiers stand near a rocket launching during a major offensive against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the Maifaa region of Shabwa province, May 4, 2014.
Yemeni soldiers stand near a rocket launching during a major offensive against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the Maifaa region of Shabwa province, May 4, 2014.
Reuters
Gunmen shot dead a Frenchman working as a security agent for the EU mission in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Monday, France announced, as the army waged an offensive against al-Qaida in the south of the country.
 
Westerners have frequently been attacked in Yemen, an impoverished U.S.-allied country fighting Islamist militancy, southern secessionists, tribal conflicts and a Shi'ite Muslim rebellion in the north.
 
Yemen's Interior Ministry confirmed Monday's attack, but said only that a “foreigner” had been killed in the capital and two other people wounded in the shooting.
 
“The president condemns in the strongest terms the attack today in Sana'a, Yemen against two of our countrymen, which cost one his life and very seriously injured the second,” French President Francois Hollande's office said in a statement.
 
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius added the victim was “on mission for the European Union delegation in Yemen.”
 
The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called the killing “evil and senseless” and urged the Yemeni government to restore security in the country.
 
“The EU's presence in Yemen aims only to assist the country in its transition to democracy and in its economic development. To target persons engaged in this effort is evil and senseless,” she said in a statement.
 
Yemeni security sources said the unidentified gunmen, who had been driving a four-by-four car without license plates, blocked the diplomatic vehicle in which the Frenchman was traveling in the center of Sanaa and opened fire.
 
They identified the wounded as a Frenchman and a Yemeni. No further details were immediately available and there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
 
Last month a German diplomat was wounded during an apparent kidnapping attempt by unidentified gunmen.
 
France is target

 
Yemen is home to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which authorities have blamed for a string of attacks on security forces and foreigners in the country of 25 million people, which shares a long border with the world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia.
 
Last week the Yemeni army launched an offensive to drive al-Qaida and its allies out of their strongholds in two southern provinces. That came after a series of air strikes, believed led by U.S. drones, that killed some 65 militants last month.
 
Yemen, under President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, is trying to overcome nearly three years of political turmoil which began when protests erupted in 2011 against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33 years in office. He has since stepped down.
 
In April 2013, a gunman fired shots outside France's embassy in Yemen, prompting local authorities to reinforce security around the mission. Since France ousted Islamist militants from Mali last year, groups linked to them have vowed to target French interests overseas.
 
Last summer several western embassies, including the American, British and French, closed their embassies in Yemen after a U.S. warning of a possible militant attack in the region.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid