By Jim Kouri
U.S. law enforcement and security officials on Thursday expressed sorrow and anger over the killing of a Yemeni national serving as a chief of security at the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, according to a federal law enforcement official.
During a press conference shown on Fox News Channel on Thursday afternoon, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, “We’re deeply saddened by the killing of [Chief] Qassim Aklan, a long- time employee of the U.S. embassy in Sanaa,”
“We condemn this vicious act in the strongest terms and extend our deepest condolences to his family and his friends at this difficult time,” she stated.
The well-educated and experienced security professional was assassinated Thursday morning (U.S. time) on a street in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, close to the heavily-guarded home of President Abd- Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Yemeni government and U.S. counterterrorism professionals posted in the Islamic country believe al-Qaeda members are responsible for the cold-blooded killing.
The gunman reportedly wore a mask and rode a motorcycle during his attack on Aklan’s vehicle.
Victoria Nuland said that Aklan was a “dedicated professional” who worked in the American embassy for 11 years as a liaison to Yemen authorities on security and anti-terrorism concerns.
Following the multinational protests in September over a U.S.-made film that denigrated the Prophet Mohammed, a unit of U.S. Marines was deployed to Yemen in order to boost the security at the American embassy in Sanaa last month.
U.S. counterterrorism, military and police advisors are assisting the Yemeni government’s security forces fighting the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and U.S. intelligence operatives are reportedly conducting drone (unmanned aerial vehicle) attacks on specific terrorist enclaves.
The Obama administration only recently acknowledged that al-Qaeda-affiliates were responsible for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in that attack.
In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya, the American intelligence community is calling for an increase in security personnel and resources at about 400 U.S. diplomatic facilities throughout the world.