SANAA, Yemen — A masked gunman assassinated a Yemeni security official who worked for the U.S. Embassy in a drive-by shooting today near his home in the capital, officials said, adding the assault bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida’s Yemen branch.
The attack comes amid amid a sharp deterioration of security in Yemen and several other Muslim countries since the collapse of police states controlled by autocratic leaders during a wave of uprisings known as the Arab Spring.
An elite team of some 50 Marines that was sent to Sanaa to bolster security at the U.S. Embassy after a Sept. 13 attack by protesters was scheduled to leave later today. It was not clear if the attack would affect those plans, Yemeni officials said.
The officials noted it was similar to a series of other recent assaults by Al-Qaida’s Yemen branch, although they said it was too early to confirm the group’s involvement.