You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Yemeni security officer for US Embassy killed

SANA, Yemen — A masked gunman assassinated a Yemeni security official who worked for the US Embassy in a drive-by shooting Thursday near his home in the capital, officials said, adding that the assault bore the hallmarks of Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch.

The attack comes 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.

Continue reading below

An elite team of some 50 Marines that was sent to Sana to bolster security at the US Embassy after a Sept. 13 attack by protesters was scheduled to leave later Thursday, and 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 Qaeda’s Yemen branch, although they said it was too early to confirm the group’s involvement. Washington considers the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula the most dangerous offshoot of the terror network. It has also been increasingly targeting Yemeni intelligence, military, and security officials in retaliation for a US-backed government offensive in the south.

Yemeni security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the information, identified the slain embassy security official as Qassem Aqlani, in his 50s.

He was on his way to work when a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire at him and fled, they said. The attack was near Aqlani’s home in western Sana, while the embassy is located in the eastern half of the city.

Aqlani had been working for the US Embassy for nearly 20 years. Yemeni officials initially said he was the lead investigator into last month’s assault on the compound by Yemenis protesting an anti-Islam film.

But State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said he was not involved in the investigation. In the Sept. 13 assault, protesters stormed the embassy and set fire to a US flag before government forces dispersed them with tear gas.

Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch has called for attacks on US embassies in a bid to take advantage of the anti-American sentiment that has swept the Middle East and other parts of the Muslim world in the past month over the film, which denigrated the Prophet Mohammed.

Initially, the film was linked to a Sept. 11 attack on the US Consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. US officials said later that the attack was not linked to the video and was a terrorist attack.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.