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Assailants stab Japanese diplomat in Yemen attack - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Yemeni security forces stand guard outside the Saudi German Hospital where a Japanese diplomat is treated after he was stabbed in a morning attack on December 15, 2013, in the capital Sanaa (AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED HUWAIS)

Yemeni security forces stand guard outside the Saudi German Hospital where a Japanese diplomat is treated after he was stabbed in a morning attack on December 15, 2013, in the capital Sanaa (AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED HUWAIS)

Sana’a, Associated Press—Assailants stabbed a Japanese diplomat stationed in Yemen’s capital Sunday when he fought back during a failed kidnapping attempt, officials said, the latest unrest in a country beset by Al-Qaeda militants.

The kidnappers attacked the diplomat not far from the Japanese Embassy in Sana’a, later fleeing with the man’s car, a security official said.

The official did not provide the diplomat’s name but said he was taken to hospital and that his injuries were not serious. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly to journalists.

Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Masaru Sato confirmed that an embassy official was attacked by an unspecified number of armed robbers as he tried to get into his car.

“We are still in the process of confirming and gathering information about the attack,” Sato said. He declined to give further details, though he noted that Japan’s Foreign Ministry has issued a safety warning to Japanese tourists and residents in the area, citing the increasing danger of attack.

Yemeni media identified the diplomat as Katsusuke Sotomini, as did an official at the embassy in Sana’a who spoke on condition of anonymity due to regulations. An Associated Press journalist some 220 yards away from the embassy found blood stains where the attack apparently took place.

Dr. Atiq Al-Maori of the Saudi-Germany Hospital in Sana’a said the diplomat suffered “multiple injuries” to his forearm and shoulder in the attack.

“We will keep him for observation to continue the treatment,” the doctor said. “His medical situation is stable.”

Abductions are frequent in Yemen, an impoverished nation where armed tribesmen and Al-Qaeda-linked militants take hostages to swap for prisoners or cash. Yemen is engaged in a rocky political transition since longtime autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in 2012 following mass popular protests.

The country’s political turmoil has created a security vacuum, which Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has used to seize large swaths of territory across the restive south. The US regularly carries out drone strikes in the country targeting who it says are militants belonging to the group.

On December 5, Al-Qaeda militants stormed the Defense Ministry in Sana’a, killing 52 people, including at least seven foreigners.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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