A U.S. embassy security official in Yemen’s capital was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman.
Qasim Aqlan, a Yemeni citizen, was an investigator in the regional security office of the embassy for 11 years, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said yesterday in Washington, confirming his death. He was shot while he was out with a family member, away from the embassy, she said.
“He could have been killed for reasons that had something to do with his job or reasons that had nothing to do with his job,” Nuland said. “We just don’t know right now.”
Aqlan’s work included conducting personnel checks and liaison on security matters with local authorities, Nuland said.
He had been involved in an investigation of the attack on the U.S. embassy by Yemeni protesters last month sparked by an anti-Islam film, according to an official in Yemen, who asked not to be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak with the press. Nuland denied he was involved in that investigation.
Nuland said she had no information on whether there may be any connection between the targeting of Aqlan and the attack on U.S. diplomatic compounds in Libya a month ago. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans were killed in a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission buildings in Benghazi.
The U.S. is working with Yemeni officials to investigate the shooting, Nuland said.
“We condemn this vicious act in the strongest terms and extend our deepest condolences to his family and his friends,”she said.
Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia and Oman, has been battling militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula with U.S. support. The U.S. is investigating whether there was an al-Qaeda connection to the Libya attack.