SANAA, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Militants of al-Qaida wing assassinated on Monday a top security officer in Yemen's southern province of Shabwa, a provincial official told Xinhua.
Colonel Atiq al-Amri, a top officer at the criminal investigation unit, was shot dead and his colleague soldier Sadri bin Iesa was seriously wounded by al-Qaida militants with rifles, the official said on condition of anonymity.
"According to eyewitnesses, the militants attacked the pair while they were walking at a main street this evening in Azan city in Shabwa," he said.
As many as 18 security and military personnel have been killed by al-Qaida or armed southern separatists in south Yemen since the beginning of this year, according to security sources.
Last December, Yemeni Interior Ministry said in a statement that it is planning to set up four counter-terrorism units in different provinces, including Shabwa, to curb the activities of resurgent al-Qaida wing.
Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, intensified security operations and air raids against al-Qaida again after the group claimed responsibility for sending parcel bombs by cargo planes bound for the United States in late October.