Mar
18

Al-Qaida linked militants behind American teacher’s killing in Yemen

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Ansar al-Sharia claims the killing was in response to west’s campaign of Christian proselytising

An al-Qaida linked militant group has claimed responsibility for the killing an American teacher in city of Taiz in Yemen on Sunday. Joel Shrun, 29, was shot dead by a gunman on motorbike, driven by an accomplice.

Shrun was an English language teacher and deputy director of Swedish Institute, a language school. Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), a militant group which police believe is affiliated to al-Qaida, claimed he was targeted because of his Christian “proselytising”.

A text message sent to journalists read: “This operation comes as a response to the campaign of Christian proselytising that the west has launched against Muslims.” The message called Shrun “one of the biggest American proselytisers”. Islamist militants have often accused western aid groups of covert religious missionary work.

The US state department condemned the killing. A spokesman said the US would continue to work with the Yemeni authorities to bring the killers to justice.

Later, in a separate incident, unidentified gunmen clashed with security forces in the southern city of Aden. Two passersby, a man and a woman, were killed and several were wounded.

Officials announced government forces had killed a dozen militants in clashes and attacks on their strongholds. On Saturday, 14 militants were killed in artillery attacks and fighting in Bagdar and Jaar, north of Zinjibar. Earlier in the month, militants had killed more than 110 soldiers in twin suicide attacks and a raid on their outposts, capturing 70 soldiers.

The incidents underscore the challenges facing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who took office last month after a year of bloody protests against his predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemen has seen an escalation violence since Hadi took office in February vowing to fight the Islamist networks, which exploited months of protests against Saleh’s 33 years in office to seize swathes of territory.

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