A senior Yemeni security officer was assassinated by unknown attackers on Wednesday in Yemen's southern province of Taiz, a military official told Xinhua.
"Unidentified gunmen riding a motorbike fired on Col. Ahmed Hanash near the building of Taiz's Post Office, killing him instantly," the local military commander said on condition of anonymity.
He said the incident occurred when Hanash was heading to work at Taiz's Security Headquarters.
Yemen's Defense Ministry confirmed the attack in a short text message obtained by Xinhua.
"The terrorist elements fled after committing their hideous crime and the incident bears the hallmarks of al-Qaida group," the ministry said, adding that "an operation is underway to hunt those perpetrators and bring them to justice."
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Yemeni military officials blamed militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot for a series of assassinations and armed attacks, mostly in the country's southern parts.
The al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, which emerged in January 2009, is considered the most strategic threat to the Yemeni government and neighboring oil- rich Saudi Arabia.