American Killed in Yemen; Al-Qaida Linked Group Claims Responsibility
An American working for a Swedish charity was shot and killed in Taiz, Yemen, on Sunday, and a group tied to al-Qaida said it had executed the man because of his “Christian proselytizing.”
The victim was identified as Joel Shrun, or Sharm, and reportedly worked for the Swedish Training Institute, which is run by the Swedish Free Mission, a charity funded by the Swedish government and religious groups.
He was in a vehicle when it was fired on by someone on a motorcycle.
A group linked to al-Qaida claimed responsibility. “This operation comes as a response to the campaign of Christian proselytizing that the West has launched against Muslims,” an unidentified person said in a text message to journalists, claiming responsibility on behalf of the Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law).
Taiz has been a hotbed of opposition during earlier protests that forced Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down as president.
Al-Qaida has taken advantage of the security vacuum and is in control of two cities in the south, having staged attacks on the Yemeni police and military, the latest killing more than 150 soldiers.
The attacks underscore the challenges facing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who took office last month after a year of massive protests against Saleh.
Taiz, about 120 miles south of the capital Sanaa, is a commercial hub where many foreigners live and work.