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Yemen intelligence chief escapes assassination

General Ghazi Ahmed Ali escaped an assassination for the third time

AFP , Wednesday 18 Jan 2012
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The intelligence chief of Yemen's main southern city of Aden has escaped an assassination bid by unidentified gunmen, a security official said on Wednesday.

"Unknown gunmen opened fire on Aden's intelligence chief, General Ghazi Ahmed Ali, as he was returning from work late on Tuesday, wounding two of his companions" who were hospitalised, the official said.

It was the third such attempt to kill Ali.

In October, Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility of one of the attempts in a statement issued from southeastern Shebwa province, one of its strongholds in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and its local affiliates, the Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law), have taken advantage of a year of deadly protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh to bolster their presence in Shebwa and nearby Marib.

Abyan province in the south has meanwhile been the main target of Al-Qaeda's growing strength, with militants seizing the provincial capital Zinjibar in May and several other towns since.

In a significant advance by the extremists towards the capital on Sunday, Al-Qaeda militants swept into the town of Rada, 130 kilometres (80 miles) southeast of Sanaa, and overran it within hours.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday described the unrest in Yemen as a "major concern."

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