(TAIZ, Yemen) -- An American working in Yemen was murdered on the streets Sunday by a gunman reportedly working for the al Qaeda offshoot group, Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law).
The group announced later that it targeted 29-year-old Joel Shrum because of his Christian "proselytizing.”
According to witnesses, Shrum was in his car traveling through the city of Taiz when a man riding on the back of a motorcycle pulled up next to his vehicle and shot him to death.
The teacher was an adviser at a Swedish-affiliated institute. Local police said he died instantly.
In Washington, State Department officials condemned the murder and promised to work with Yemeni authorities to capture Shrum’s killers.
Taiz, south of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, turned volatile during the revolt last year to remove Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has since resigned.
With Yemen going through a political vacuum, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have become emboldened, launching frequent attacks on Yemeni security forces.
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