ADEN, Yemen, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- Unidentified gunmen shot dead a high-ranking military intelligence officer in Yemen's southern port city of Aden on Sunday morning, a government official told Xinhua.
The masked assailants, who were on a motorcycle, shot and killed Ahmed al-Barakani, a colonel in the domestic military intelligence agency in Aden's neighborhood of Tawahi before fleeing the area, the local government official said, requesting anonymity.
He said the incident happened when about two gunmen opened fire on the officer's vehicle while he was getting out of the intelligence compound in Tawahi.
"The perpetrators of this criminal attack are cowards... An investigation into the incident is ongoing, and it was unclear who the shooters were," the government official added.
Sunday's attack is the latest of a series of assassinations that targeted Yemeni military officers since the unrest began last year.
Attacks and raids have been continuing since the country's political turmoil last year, as scores of al-Qaida militants took control of certain areas in the restive south, but were later purged in a U.S.-backed army offensive.
On June 20, Yemen's military officials announced seizing al- Qaida's last bastion in the country's troubled south following the military assault.
However, local military and anti-terrorism experts said the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch is still a major threat to the impoverished Arab country.
The United States and neighboring oil-rich Saudi Arabia have beefed up anti-terror cooperation since Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office, to help his administration overcome security challenges and combat the resurgent branch of al-Qaida network in particular.