Last updated: 25 December, 2011

Intelligence chief shot dead in south Yemen

Gunmen shot dead an intelligence chief on Sunday in the port of Aden in south Yemen, a police official said, blaming the attack on Al-Qaeda.

The assailants intercepted the vehicle carrying Colonel Hussein Shabibi, head of internal security in the city’s Sheikh Othman district, and shot him dead before making good their escape in a car, the official said.

Shabibi was the latest security officer to be targeted in recent months in south Yemen in attacks generally attributed by officials to Al-Qaeda.

The Islamist extremist network has turned 11 months of political turmoil in the capital Sanaa to its advantage, using the popular revolt against President Ali Abdullah Saleh to bolster its presence in south and east Yemen.

Militants linked to Al-Qaeda control several regions and towns including Abyan provincial capital Zinjibar, where they clash regularly with government forces and tribal auxiliaries.

Government forces are also sometimes supported by US drone strikes in their battle against the Partisans of Sharia, the Al-Qaeda-linked insurgent group that took over most of Zinjibar in May.