Yemen: Iran diplomat dies in gun attack near embassy

Yemeni soldiers stand guard outside Iran's embassy in Sanaa 18/01/2014 Saturday's attack took place in the main diplomatic quarter of the Yemeni capital

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An Iranian diplomat has been killed in a gun attack in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

He was shot as he was leaving the Iranian ambassador's residence in the southern Hadda district by car.

The diplomat, named as Ali Asghar Assadi, was taken to hospital but died from his wounds.

Iranian state TV said he had been hit in the chest and stomach while driving. It said Mr Assadi, described as Iran's economic attache, had been "martyred".

An Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman said: "Around noon today (Saturday) a group of terrorists attacked a diplomat from our embassy in one of the streets of Sanaa attempting to kidnap him. But, because the diplomat resisted, the terrorists opened fire on him."

A Yemeni police source told AFP news agency that the attackers were in a van and fired on the diplomat three times.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly condemns this incident and will follow up on the case with the Yemeni authorities," the foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

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

Last July, another diplomat at the embassy was kidnapped by suspected al-Qaeda militants and is thought still to be held captive.

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