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US Condemns Murders of US Missionaries in Yemen - 2002-12-31

The United States has denounced the killing of three American missionaries who worked at a hospital in Yemen. He vows those responsible will be brought to justice.

They were brutal murders in a place of healing. A suspected Muslim extremist entered the hospital and opened fire, killing the three Southern Baptist missionaries and seriously wounding a fourth.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan says the Bush administration strongly condemns the murders of the three Americans - a doctor and two others who helped run the hospital. He says they were killed while providing humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people.

Noting that the gunman is already in custody, Mr. McClellan says American investigators are working on the case with their Yemeni counterparts. When asked if the killings might have been the work of terrorists, he was evasive. He said more information is needed, but then added that the killings "underscore the dangerous world we live in."

The news of the murders was conveyed to President Bush early Monday at his Texas ranch, where he is on a holiday vacation with members of his family. The president is expected to return to Washington on Sunday.