SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Al-Qaida militants in Yemen killed one of their own men Thursday, hanging his body from a street light after accusing him of spying for the United States, officials said.
The officials say a militant firing squad killed the man and publicly displayed his body in the town of Shahr in the southeastern Hadramawt province. An al-Qaida flier distributed to residents described the execution as "retribution" for anyone who deals with the Americans.
It claimed the man, who was not identified, had been placing microchips in cars and safe houses used by al-Qaida members to guide missiles fired by U.S. drones. Al-Qaida wields significant power in some remote areas of southern Yemen, where state authority is almost non-existent. The United States has carried drone strikes killing and injuring suspected al-Qaida militants.
Officials have said that locals on the ground help locate militants for U.S. drones. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is considered by the U.S. to be the terror group's most dangerous offshoot. The group controls large territories in Yemen after the country's 2011 uprising. A U.S.-backed military offensive has managed to drive militants out of main cities and towns, though the group continues to pose a major challenge to the government.
Al-Qaida militants have carried several massive suicide attacks, including a December assault on the country's Defense Ministry headquarters that killed 56 people, including foreigners. Meanwhile Thursday, gunmen on a motorcycle killed senior intelligence officer Col. Hamed al-Uzari in drive-by shooting as the officer left his house in the capital, Sanaa, officials said. Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi sent his condolences to the family of the slain officer, according to an official statement.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.