Yemen: Al Qaeda Offers Bounty For US Ambassador

Al Qaeda militants in Yemen have offered a reward worth nearly £100,000 (\$160,000) to anyone who kills the US ambassador to the country.

In an audiotape produced by the local affiliate's media arm, al Malahem Foundation, and posted on militant websites, it said it would give 3kg of gold to whoever assassinated Gerald M. Feierstein and £14,000 (\$23,000) if an American soldier was killed.

The bounties were set to "inspire and encourage our Muslim nation for jihad" and were valid for six months, the statement said.

They were offered just hours after at least three al Qaeda-linkd militants were killed in an apparent drone strike in the southern province of al Bayda, government and tribal sources said.

"Their bodies were charred and the car was completely obliterated," a tribesman said. "Their bodies were not recognisable, but the government says they're from al Qaeda."

Dozens of suspected militants, including al Qaeda members, have been killed in recent months, many in strikes by pilotless aircraft, as the Yemeni government pursues a US-backed effort to counter Islamist fighters.

In the capital, Sanaa, security officials said two armed men on a motorbike shot and killed two intelligence officers as they were leaving a downtown security facility.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said all intelligence and security officers have been instructed to take precautionary measures outside working hours.

The government blames al Qaeda for the killing of several senior military and intelligence officials this year mainly by gunmen on motorbikes.

The US and its Gulf Arab allies are concerned about the security situation in Yemen because of its strategic position next to oil exporter Saudi Arabia and shipping lanes, and because it has been the starting point for a number of high-profile al Qaeda-linked plots.