A French-Algerian was killed and another man was wounded Wednesday in a shooting by Shiite rebels who have overrun the Yemeni capital, security and diplomatic sources said.
Both were Salafist students and residents of Sanaa, and "it wasn't French interests that were targeted" in the shooting, said the Western diplomat.
The wounded man was said to be French-Moroccan.
They were stopped at a checkpoint in the capital on suspicion of carrying explosives, leading to an argument in which the French-Algerian stabbed a Shiite rebel before he was shot dead himself, the security source said.
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The diplomat was unable to confirm the knife attack.
The security source said the French-Algerian's body was taken to a public hospital in the capital while the wounded man was brought by the rebels to a clinic they control.
Yemen has been gripped by insecurity since the 2012 ouster of strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, and recent weeks have seen a spate of armed attacks in Sanaa after Huthi Shiite rebels seized the capital in September.
On Wednesday three students thought to have been related to the Shiite rebels were killed by two gunmen in northwestern Sanaa, a security official said.