SANAA, Yemen, May 12 (UPI) -- Two American employees of U.S. Embassy Sanaa were the target of an attempted kidnapping by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. One of the Americans shot and killed the armed kidnappers.
State Department spokesperson Marie Harf offered a brief account of the incident, which occurred on April 24.
"We can confirm that, last month, two U.S. Embassy officers in Yemen fired their weapons after being confronted by armed individuals in an attempted kidnapping at a small commercial business in Sa'ana. Two of the armed individuals were killed. The Embassy officers are no longer in Yemen."
A Yemeni government official told CNN that the embassy personnel "violated security protocol" by leaving "their secure facilities" and going to a Yemeni barbershop, "where many foreigners and diplomats go to get their hair cut."
The Yemeni official said that only one of the embassy officers fired a weapon. "The American who shot the kidnappers had a gun permit and was authorized to carry a gun. The two armed kidnappers were AQAP militants. They weren't unarmed civilians."
News of the attempted kidnapping comes on the heels of the U.S. embassy's announcement Wednesday that it was suspending embassy operations indefinitely, citing a terror threat.
That terror threat, according to Yemeni officials, is "more serious than originally thought."