SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Gunmen shot dead the head of one of the World Food Program offices in southwestern Yemen on Friday, the humanitarian organization said. No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
In a statement, WFP said Moayad Hameidi, a Jordanian, was shot by gunmen in the city of Taiz not long after he arrived in the country to assume the role of head of the office in that city. It added that he died shortly after reaching a hospital.
Hameidi was shot by two armed assailants on a motorcycle, according to a statement from a local security committee on Friday. No further information was given.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also known by its abbreviation AQAP and believed to be one of the most dangerous branches of the Al-Qaeda terror network, is active in several regions of Yemen. The years of civil war in the country have allowed the militants to maintain a presence in several areas around Yemen.
The war began in 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa and much of northern Yemen, forcing the government into exile. A Saudi Arabian-led coalition went to war in early 2015 to try to bring the internationally recognized government back to power.
Both the Houthis and the government condemned the attack in statements late Friday. Neither side accused anyone of being behind the murder.
Taiz, the country’s third largest city, has been under siege by the Houthis since 2016 as part of the brutal civil war. The blockade has severely restricted movement and impeded the flow of essential goods, medicines and humanitarian aid to the city’s residents.
A senior Yemeni government security official said an investigation was underway. He refused to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The conflict in Yemen has led to one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, turning over the years into a regional proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. More than 150,000 people, including combatants and civilians, have been killed.