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Anti-Saleh Yemeni Minister Escapes Assassination Attempt

From BBC News:

Yemen’s information minister has escaped an assassination attempt in the capital, Sanaa, witnesses say.

Ali al-Amrani’s car was hit by bullets as he left a cabinet meeting, but he was unhurt in the attack, an aide said.

Earlier, reports said at least 13 suspected militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had been killed in US drone strikes in Abyan province.

And in a separate development, four foreign aid workers and two Yemeni drivers were seized by tribesmen.

Their vehicles were stopped by “an armed group” in Wadi Ahjar, about 50km (30 miles) north-west of Sanaa in al-Mahwit province, the state news agency Saba reported.

The aid workers – an Iraqi, a Palestinian, a Colombian, and a German – had been returning to the capital from a refugee camp in the town of Harad, in Hajjah province, a local official was quoted as saying.

Their kidnappers were demanding the release of a fellow tribesman who was being held at Sanaa’s central prison on criminal charges, Saba said, adding that tribal elders were negotiating the aid workers’ release.

The UN’s office in Sanaa later confirmed that all six worked for the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Opposition member

The attack on Mr Amrani’s car came a few hours after witnesses and local officials said there had been overnight air strikes on buildings and vehicles used by al-Qaeda militants in southern Yemen.

Most of those who died had been gathered in a building in Lawdar. They are reported to include Abdul Munim al-Fathani, who is said to be wanted in connection with the attack on the USS Cole in 2000.

Mr Amrani’s aide, Abdul Basset al-Qaedi, said gunmen had opened fire on the minister’s car outside the cabinet’s headquarters and then fled.

The minister resigned from President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ruling General People’s Congress (GPC) and joined the opposition in March in protest at the violent crackdown on anti-government protests.

He was named information minister in the national unity government, which was appointed in December after Mr Saleh signed a Gulf Co-operation Council-brokered deal handing power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, the sole candidate in February’s presidential election.

Read the rest of the story here.

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