Three US medical workers killed by fundamentalist gunman in Yemen

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The Independent Online

Three American missionaries were shot dead in Yemen yesterday by an Islamic radical who authorities believe was part of a militant cell attacking foreigners and local politicians.

Three American missionaries were shot dead in Yemen yesterday by an Islamic radical who authorities believe was part of a militant cell attacking foreigners and local politicians.

The alleged gunman was arrested by Yemeni security forces after the killings at a missionary-run hospital where the three Americans worked.

The gunman is said to have concealed a semi-automatic gun under his clothes, pretending he was carrying a child, before he opened fire and shot the missionaries in the head. A fourth American missionary was seriously wounded and needed emergency surgery.

The attack happened at the Jibla Baptist Hospital, 125 miles south of the capital, Sanaa, which has been operated by the American Southern Baptist Church for the past 35 years. "We are devastated by this news," said Larry Cox, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board. Security officials in Yemen said the alleged gunman – identified as Abed Abdul Razak Kamel – claimed during interrogation that he had plotted the attack with Ali al-Jarallah, who was arrested for killing a senior Yemeni leftist politician on Saturday. Another security official said authorities were hunting up to eight extremists opposed to foreigners and politicians.

Edmund Hull, the US ambassador, said he had been told the gunman "was unhappy with the activities of medical personnel" at the hospital.

The three victims were identified as the hospital's director, William Koehn, 60, Kathleen Gariety, 53, and Dr Martha Myers, 57. The injured man was Donald Caswell, 49. All had been missionaries for many years.

The attack highlights the lack of security within Yemen and the continued ability of Islamic extremists to launch strikes against Western targets despite a crackdown by authorities.

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