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Al Qaeda offers bounty for US ambassador in Yemen

SANA, Yemen — Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen has offered to pay tens of thousands of dollars to anyone who kills the US ambassador in Sana or an American soldier in the country.

An audio produced by the group’s media arm, the al-Malahem Foundation, and posted on militant websites Saturday said it offered $160,000 in gold for killing the ambassador, Gerald Feierstein. The group said it will pay $23,000 to anyone who kills an American soldier inside Yemen.

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It said the offer is valid for six months. The bounties were set to ‘‘inspire and encourage our Muslim nation for jihad,’’ the statement said.

The US Embassy in Sana did not respond to call seeking comment. Washington considers Al Qaeda in Yemen to be the group’s most dangerous branch. The group overran towns and villages last year by taking advantage of a security lapse during nationwide protests that eventually ousted the country’s longtime ruler.

Backed by the US military experts based at a southern air base, Yemen’s army was able to regain control of the southern region, but militants continue to launch deadly attacks on security forces that have killed hundreds.

In the capital, Sana, security officials said two gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed two intelligence officers early Sunday as they were leaving a downtown security facility. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations, said all intelligence and security officers have been instructed to take precautionary measures outside working hours.

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