A Saudi diplomat has been shot dead in Sanaa, a senior Saudi official says
The diplomat and his Yemeni aide came under attack from several gunmen, he says
More than 20 shots were fired at their vehicle as they fled, the official says
Saudi Arabia is not yet accusing anyone over the attack
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A Saudi diplomat and his Yemeni aide were killed Wednesday in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, according to a senior official at the Saudi Embassy there.
The diplomat, named as Khaled al-Onizi, and his assistant were shot dead in an attack on their vehicle near the Saudi official’s residence in Bait Zabatan district, a suburb of the capital near Hadda district.
Saudi Arabia is not yet accusing anyone over the attack, “but this was planned and a group of gunmen were involved in the killing of the Saudi official,” according to the senior Saudi official, who asked not to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media.
The diplomat was an official in the Saudi military section of the Sanaa embassy, he said.
At least five gunmen in a 4x4 truck chased the victims’ vehicle for about five minutes, the Saudi official said. More than 20 shots were fired in the victims’ direction.
The Saudi official’s vehicle flipped as the driver tried to escape, he said.
The attack is the latest in a series of violent incidents to shake Yemen.
In October, a security official with the U.S. Embassy in Yemen was shot dead in his car on his way to work in Sanaa. Yemeni security officials said that killing, which was carried out by men on a motorcycle, bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda.
Yemen’s security forces have been battling al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has been blamed for numerous attacks in the country.
Al Qaeda gained strength last year after taking control of several towns in south Yemen. The militant group benefited from political unrest sparked by the Arab Spring uprisings that led to longtime Yemeni ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh stepping down from power in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
CNN’s Mohammed Jamjoom contributed to this report.