Middle East

Japanese envoy stabbed in Yemen kidnap attempt

A policeman stands guard at the gate of a hospital where a Japanese diplomat is being treated in Sanaa
Police are guarding the hospital where the Japanese diplomat is being treated

A Japanese diplomat has been wounded in a failed kidnap attempt by armed men in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.

The second secretary at the embassy was stabbed several times by unknown men and is in a stable condition in hospital, embassy officials say.

The diplomat was resisting a kidnap attempt as he tried to get into his car, Japan's foreign ministry said, without releasing the man's name.

Attacks on foreigners in Yemen have intensified in the past few months.

Yemen has been plagued by instability since its long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh handed over power after a popular uprising in 2011.

Increased danger

"We are still in the process of confirming and gathering information about the attack," Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Masaru Sato told the Associated Press.

Mr Sato said a safety warning had been issued to Japanese nationals in the area.

Earlier this month, 52 people were killed in an attack on Yemen's defence ministry that was later claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The group's media arm, al-Malahim, said the ministry complex in Sanaa had been targeted because US unmanned drones were being operated from there.

Yemen has held a National Dialogue Conference, bringing together various political groups and interests, as part of the process to draft a new constitution and pave the way for general elections next year.

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