World Bulletin/News Desk
An Iranian diplomat was killed in Yemen's capital Sanaa on Saturday when he resisted gunmen who were trying to kidnap him near the ambassador's residence, the Iranian Foreign Ministry and Yemeni security sources said.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told Fars News Agency the diplomat was seriously injured when he resisted his attackers and was taken to a Sanaa hospital, where he died.
"We are seriously following up the dimensions of this terrorist action with the relevant Yemeni government officials," Afkham said.
Security sources in Yemen told Reuters the diplomat was travelling in a car belonging to the Iranian embassy, but the ambassador was not in the car at the time of the attack.
The gunmen fled, and there was no immediate claim of responsibility, they said.
Iran's diplomatic missions in the Arab world have occasionally been targeted as sectarian violence spreads in the region.
Sectarian rivalry between Shi'ite Muslim Houthis and ultra-conservative Sunni Salafis has increased in northern Yemen in the last several months, with at least 210 people killed.
The violence erupted on Oct. 30 when Houthi rebels, who control much of the northern Saada province, accused Salafis in the town of Damaj of recruiting thousands of foreign fighters to prepare to attack them.
Fighting between the two sides in Saada and adjacent provinces stopped as a ceasefire deal took hold a week ago.
That deal gave the Salafis four days to relocate about 250 km (150 miles) southwest to the Red Sea port of Hudaida.
Yemen said it started moving a group of Salafis out of their northern stronghold on Tuesday.Last Mod: 18 Ocak 2014, 16:51