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Did Al Qaeda assassinate a US Embassy security official in Yemen? (+video)

A masked gunman killed a Yemeni security official who was investigating last month's attack on the US Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen. 

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Initially, the film was linked to a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. U.S. officials said later the attack was not linked to the video.

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AQAP praised the killing of U.S. diplomats in Libya, describing it as "the best example" for those attacking embassies to follow.

The group had taken advantage of a security and political vacuum created by last year's uprising that led to the ouster of longtime leader Ali Abdullah Saleh and seized territories and cities in the south. The government-led offensive has pushed the militants out to mountainous areas from where they have been staging suicide attacks and assassinations inside cities.

Two weeks ago, a top intelligence official, Col. Abdullah al-Ashwal, was also killed in a drive-by shooting in Sanaa.

The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, located in an upscale eastern neighborhood called Dhaher Hameer, has been heavily fortified with new protective measures amid the turmoil surrounding the uprising, and security was tightened even more after the latest assault on the embassy by protesters on Sept. 13.

The main road that leads to the embassy is sealed off by cement blocks and three checkpoints limit access, with cars scanned for explosives. Yemeni troops and armored vehicles also are stationed near the building.

Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has been reaching out to tribal leaders in southern Yemen to try to secure their loyalty and cooperation in the war against al-Qaida. On Tuesday, while meeting with tribal leaders from Shabwa — a onetime stronghold of al-Qaida— Hadi pressed for unity with the government, warning them against providing shelter to militants and saying the government "will not tolerate anyone who helps al-Qaida."

Hadi's call, however, was countered by a daring message from al-Qaida militants, as authorities discovered three decapitated bodies dumped in an open-air market in the eastern province of Marib.

Local media reported that CDs found next to the bodies showed the men confessing to being government informants against al-Qaida and placing tracking devices on cars that became targets for U.S. drone strikes. One of the men said he worked for a tire repair shop and used to plant chips in militants' vehicles while replacing their tires.

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