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Masked Gunman Kills Yemeni Who Worked As Security Official At U.S. Embassy

A masked gunman killed a Yemeni man when he was on his way to work as a security official at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, the AP and Reuters are reporting.

The Associated Press reports that Yemeni officials said the drive-by shooting was reminiscient of other attacks undertaken by the al-Qaida offshoot in Yemen.

The AP adds:

"The assassination resembles other attacks recently that have targeted Yemeni intelligence, military and security officials. Those attacks are believed to be in retaliation for a military offensive by Yemen's U.S.-backed government against Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which Washington considers the most dangerous offshoot of the global terror network.

"AQAP has called for attacks on U.S. embassies in a bid to exploit the anti-American sentiment that has swept the Middle East and other parts of the Muslim world in the past month over an anti-Islam film produced in the United States."

This attack comes at a time when al-Qaida is back in the national spotlight in the United States. As Mark reported, yesterday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee opened its probe into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

The Obama administration has come under fire for first pinning the attack on a violent reaction to the American-made, anti-Muslim film. The administration later changed its assessment saying this was clearly a complex attack.

CBS News talked to a senior State Department official in WAshington who did not provide more details about the attack in Yemen, but said. "we are deeply saddened by this tragic incident involving a Yemeni employee of our Embassy in Sanaa, and we are working with Yemeni authorities."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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