ADEN - A bomb ripped through the car of a senior Yemeni security officer on Thursday in the southern port city of Aden, killing him instantly in an attack that another security official blamed on Islamist militants with ties to al-Qaida.

The explosive was stuck to the side of the vehicle and went off as Colonel Abdallah al-Mawzai turned the key in the ignition, the official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The killing Of Mawzai, the top security officer in the city's sixth district, was the latest in a string of assassinations of security officials in the region, where al-Qaida's Yemeni wing and local affiliates have established a presence.

A group calling itself Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), which pledged allegiance to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, seized parts of southern Abyan province last year as an uprising against Yemen's former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, gained momentum.

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