Yemeni presidential adviser is target of assassination attempt

Yassin Noman, rotating head of Yemen's opposition coalition, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Sanaa March 22, 2011. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

SANAA (Reuters) - The Yemeni government said on Sunday there had been an assassination attempt on an adviser to the country's president, the latest of a wave of bombings and shootings.

A sniper fired shots with a weapon equipped with a silencer on Saturday at Yassin Said Noman's car as it was driving through the capital Sanaa, the official Saba news agency said.

As well as being an adviser to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Noman is vice president of Yemen's National Dialogue and Secretary General of the Socialist Party.

The bullet did not hit Noman as the vehicle was armoured, the agency said.

"Targeting such a well-known political personality and important national figure is targeting the move towards reform that Yemen is currently undergoing," the agency quoted the government as saying.

Initial information showed the sniper had been on top of a mosque near Noman's home and shot at the roof of his car, aiming for his head, it said.

Earlier on Sunday, gunmen shot dead two senior security officials in separate ambushes in other areas of Yemen.

A group linked to al Qaeda claimed responsibility for an attack on the Yemeni Defence Ministry on Thursday in which at least 56 people were killed and more than 200 wounded.

An interim government is facing southern secessionists and northern Houthi rebels in addition to the al Qaeda-linked militants, who are seeking to overthrow the government and impose Islamic law.

The country is also facing severe economic problems inherited from former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who was forced out of office by a popular uprising in 2011.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Andrew Roche)