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U.S. doctors shot dead in Yemen • Monday December 30, 2002

CNN, Dec. 30, 2002

SAN’A, Yemen (CNN) –A suspected Islamic extremist is reported to have shot dead three U.S. doctors and wounded a fourth at a missionary hospital in southern Yemen.

Walid Al-Saqqaf, editor-in-chief of the Yemen Times, told CNN on Monday the wounded physician was still in surgery. It was not clear whether the gunman had been detained, he added.

The attack took place at the U.S.-funded Baptist hospital in the town of Jibla in Ibb province, about 120 miles south of the capital San’a, as the American staff were preparing to hand over control to Yemeni workers.

The U.S. Embassy in San’a issued a statement condemning the shooting, and urged Yemen’s government to bring those responsible for the attack to justice.

Security in Yemen has been a U.S. priority since the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors. That was blamed on terrorist group al Qaeda, which is held responsible for the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

Yemen, the ancestral homeland of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, is a hotbed for extremist Islamic militant groups, finding refuge in the country’s mountainous, tribal strongholds.

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