Jan 19, 2014, 3:51 AM
News Code: 81001310
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Deputy FM: FM delegation to be dispatched to Yemen today

Tehran, Jan 19, IRNA – Deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs condemning terrorist assassination of Iranian cultural attache' in Sanaa, Yemen, said a foreign ministry delegation will be dispatched to Yemen Sunday to probe the event.

“The body of the Iranian martyred diplomat, Abolqasem Assadi, will be flown back to Iran aboard a special Islamic Republic of Iran Airlines plane from Sanaa to Tehran, “Hossein Amir Abdollahian said hours after midnight, Saturday.

On details of assassination of the Iranian diplomat in Yemen, too, he said that a terrorist group on Saturday intended to kidnap Assadi, but he resisted from going with them, and as a result they shot four bullets at him and fled the scene of the crime immediately, according to the eye witnesses.

“The Iranian diplomat was transferred to a hospital and transferred to the operation room for a surgery in critical conditions and it was arranged in Tehran to dispatch a team of highly skilled medical doctors in a special flight to cure Assadi, but unfortunately he was martyred due to his severe injuries before that,” he said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham had said earlier on Saturday night that the diplomat was seriously injured when he resisted his attackers and was taken to a Sanaa hospital, where he died.

'We are seriously following up the dimensions of this terrorist action with the relevant Yemeni government officials,'' Afkham said.

Afkham did not identify the envoy, but the Iranian state television identified him as Ali Asghar Assadi, Iran's economic attaché in Yemen, and said he had been 'martyred.'

Security sources in Yemen told Reuters that the diplomat was travelling in a car belonging to the Iranian Embassy, but the ambassador was not in the car at the time of the attack.

The gunmen fled, and there was no immediate claim of responsibility, they said.

Kidnapping of foreigners in Yemen is common, often carried out by disgruntled tribesmen seeking to press the government to free their jailed relatives or to improve public services, or by Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda.

Sectarian rivalry between Shi’a Muslim Houthis and ultra-conservative Sunni Salafist has increased in northern Yemen in the last several months, with at least 210 people killed.

The sectarian rivalry has cast a shadow over reconciliation efforts in Yemen, a US ally that is home to one of the most active wings of the terrorist al-Qaeda militants.

The country, in turmoil since a popular uprising ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011, is now also facing southern secessionists and an economic crisis.