Briton killed by car bomb in Yemen

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A Briton who was killed when his car blew up in Yemen's port city of Aden was named today.

David Mockett, from Plymouth, Devon, died shortly after he drove away from his hotel yesterday, the Foreign Office said.

Mr Mockett, who was aged in his 60s, worked as surveyor for Arabian Marine Surveyors Ltd.

Mr Mockett's wife, Cynthia, told The Times: "My husband went up in flames.

"I just wish I had something to bury, but I don't think I will."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are providing consular assistance to next-of-kin.

"Our embassy in Sanaa has asked the Yemeni authorities to investigate the incident."

The Ministry of Interior in Yemen has ordered a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the killing.

Police would not comment on any possible motive for the apparent attack.

Yemeni officials have blamed a rise in violence in Aden on al Qai'da-linked militants.

It is not the first time a British national has been targeted in the Gulf country.

Last October a British diplomat was wounded in a rocket attack on a diplomatic convoy in Sanaa. He was left suffering temporary hearing problems and with injuries to his side and back.

It was the second attack on British officials in six months.

Tim Torlot, then the ambassador, escaped unhurt when a suicide bomber wearing school uniform detonated an explosives belt the previous April.

Yemeni sources said Mr Torlot's armoured car had been travelling through a neighbourhood in the eastern part of the town known to be popular with militants.

The bomber, a 22-year-old man, was killed.

Security was stepped up around the US and British embassies in the wake of the blast which cast doubts over the Yemeni government's ongoing crackdown against al Qai'da.

It came after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab - the man suspected of attempting to blow up a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009 - reportedly told investigators that he was supplied with his bomb by al Qai'da members in Yemen.

Nigerian-born Abdulmutallab's family also suggested he became radicalised during a visit to the country which has long been regarded as a breeding ground for the terrorist group.

In October, Mr Torlot voiced fears over the growing dangers posed by extremists.

"I think the threat in Yemen is increasing," he said.

"Al Qai'da has built up a base here, which the government of Yemen is working very hard to tackle.

"We are not talking about anything on the same scale as Afghanistan and Pakistan yet, and all of our efforts are going into making sure that doesn't happen."

Only last month Foreign Secretary William Hague warned that the troubled Middle Eastern state risks becoming "a much more serious threat" to UK national security following violent clashes between the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and opposition tribesmen.

The prospect of a violent power grab mounted after the president flew to Saudi Arabia for urgent medical attention after a rebel rocket attack on his compound in the capital.

The FCO advises travellers against all travel to Yemen - one of the most impoverished and unstable countries in the Arab world.

It has recommended that British nationals leave the country amid heightened security fears.

On its website, it warns: "There is a high threat from terrorism in Yemen and specific methods of attack are evolving and increasing in sophistication."

Most recently, Home Secretary Theresa May said Yemeni citizens who want to travel through the UK on long-haul flights will need a visa under new counter-terrorism measures.

Mr Torlot has since stepped down from his post and has been replaced by Jon Wilks.

Foreign Office minister for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt said: "I was greatly saddened to learn that a British national, David Mockett, was killed in Aden yesterday. I send my deepest condolences to the Mockett family.

"Foreign Office officials have spoken to the family and are providing consular assistance.

"Through our embassy in Sana'a we are urgently seeking further information on the circumstances surrounding the death, and have asked the Yemeni authorities to investigate."

The family of Mr Mockett spoke today of their loss.

"David John Mockett, husband to Cynthia, father to Sarah and Rachael, grandfather to four grandchildren, brother to three, died while working in Aden, Yemen, yesterday and will be missed by all," they said in a statement released by Devon and Cornwall Police.

"David was born in Kent and lived with his family in Plymouth.

"We understand from the Foreign Office that David was killed by a car bomb as he left his workplace for lunch.

"David worked as a shipping consultant and had worked in this capacity in the Middle East for 34 years, with the last 10 years being based in Aden and Hodiadah.

"David was a huge part of our lives and will leave a vast hole.

"He always made time for people as he believed that your time was the greatest gift that you give to another person.

"He was a patient listener. He and Cynthia shared a love that most of us can only hope for, sharing 44 years of marriage.

"Locals in Aden described David as a gentle giant, the 'man of peace', and he was well-known throughout the port of Aden.

"David decided to stay on past retirement in Yemen as the skills he acquired through the years as a master mariner were key to the shipping industry, but more so as he enjoyed going to work.

"He will be greatly missed by his friends in both the UK and Yemen.

"We ask that the press give us the family privacy in this difficult time."