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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Three Aid Workers Killed in Yemen

Aired December 30, 2002 - 06:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: We'll get back now to our breaking news story this morning. A suspected Islamic extremist kills three American aid workers in Yemen, a fourth was shot and wounded.
Now, the gunman opened fire at the Baptist Hospital about 120 miles south of the capital there. The U.S. staff prepared to hand over control of the hospital to local authorities. Hospital administrators believe the attack was an isolated event, perhaps triggered by a backlash against the transfer of power.

An hour ago, I spoke with Walid Al-Saqqaf of the "Yemen Times" about that attack. In fact, he's on the phone with us again this morning.

What is the latest from there?

WALID AL-SAQQAF, WEEKEND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "YEMEN TIMES": Well, the latest is that some report suggests a link between what's happened today with what happened on Saturday. If you'll remember -- recall, there was another assassination of Jerold Long (ph), a very prominent socialist figure, and it came out on the wire. And the motives of that killer were similar to the motives of this one; they both wanted to undermine anything that they think is against Islam.

CALLAWAY: So, this hospital now, just to be clear, has been running there for sometime. Any idea of why it was targeted?

AL-SAQQAF: Well, perhaps the frustrations of the fundamentalist figures there rose (ph) high after the recent U.S. war -- I mean, to act (ph) against Iraq, and also the U.S. support of Israel. But alongside that, initially (ph), the hospital there was about to -- let's say, make a transition. The administration will be shifted to the Yemeni local authorities. So, maybe the person wanted to strike in a time before they leave.

CALLAWAY: Do you know anymore about the suspect?

AL-SAQQAF: Well, we do know that he belongs to a fundamentalist movement, but further information was not given. It's supposed to be given by the authorities there. So far, they've been reluctant to provide more information, but they do want -- they mentioned that it's somewhat linked to at this (ph) motives and then planned (ph) to the assassination Saturday.

CALLAWAY: All right, thank you very much, Walid.

And we want to tell you that the U.S. Embassy in Yemen has also issued a statement saying -- quoting here: "We condemn the attack on American citizens. We call upon the Yemeni government to bring those responsible to justice and are requesting additional protection for American citizens that are in Yemen."

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