American, Canadian shot dead in Yemen, another Canadian wounded

Tuesday, March 18th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN`A, Yemen (AP) _ A Yemeni man shot three foreign oil workers Tuesday, killing an American and a Canadian and wounding another Canadian before shooting himself dead, according to oil workers and a U.S. diplomat.

The attack took place in an oil field in the oil-rich northern province of Marib, about 100 miles northeast of the Yemeni capital San`a, the tribesmen and oil workers said on condition of anonymity. Both Westerners worked at a Hunt Oil Co. rig, and were shot while they were working in the field.

A diplomat at the U.S. Embassy, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the shooting and said U.S. security personnel were in touch with the Interior Ministry to obtain more details.

“We have reliable information confirming the attack. We know that an American and a Canadian were killed and another Canadian was wounded,” he said.

Canada does not maintain an embassy in Yemen. Officials at it's embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which oversees Canadian interests in Yemen, said they had no immediate comment.

Ray Oberwetter, a spokesman at Hunt Oil Co.'s headquarters in Dallas, did not immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press early Tuesday regarding the attack.

The assailant was a Yemeni man who shot and killed himself after shooting the two men, according to the area tribesmen.

Security officials refused to immediately comment.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the shooting was politically motivated; gun violence is frequent in the largely lawless tribal areas of Yemen.

On Dec. 30, a suspected Islamic militant shot dead three U.S. Christian missionaries who worked at a Baptist-run hospital.

Yemen has long been a hotbed for terrorists and is the ancestral homeland of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

In 2000, an explosives-laden boat rammed an American destroyer, the USS Cole, off Yemen, killing 17 U.S. sailors. In November, a CIA-operated Predator drone fired a missile that killed bin Laden's top lieutenant in Yemen, Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, and five other suspected members of the terror group.