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Yemen premier escapes ambush unharmed

Unidentified gunmen have opened fire on the motorcade of Yemen's prime minister, Salem Basindwa. The prime minister escaped the ambush unharmed.

Prime Minister Basindwa was returning home from his office in an armored car in the capital Sanaa on Saturday when he came under attack, according to his advisor Ali al-Sarari.

An unnamed security source told the AFP news agency that four gunmen pulled up in a four-wheel drive vehicle, opened fire and then fled the scene. Security forces identified the vehicle's license plate and were tracking the unidentified gunmen down, according to the source.

It was the first time that Baswinda had come under attack. He escaped the ambush unharmed.

Basindwa leads a national unity government under President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The national unity government paved the way for the ouster of long-time strongmen Ali Abdullah Saleh, who abdicated in February 2012 amid popular unrest.

Al-Qaeda-linked militants exploited the unrest to seize large swaths of Yemen's south. The government pushed out the militants in a June 2012 military offensive with US support. Washington regularly launches drone strikes against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which it considers one of the terrorist organization's most dangerous branches.

The central government also faces an uprising by minority Shiites in the north and a power struggle with separatists in the south.


slk/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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