Suspected Al-Qaeda loyalists killed a defector in a drive-by shooting in Yemen's restive southeastern province of Hadramawt on Wednesday, witnesses and a security official said.
Islamic cleric Sheikh Ali Bawazir was gunned down near a Koranic school in the town of Ghail Bawazir, a witness told AFP.
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A security official said the preacher was targeted because he had broken ranks with the Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia group over a campaign of hit-and-run shootings against security force personnel in the region.
Sheikh Ali had previously supported the jihadist group, which seized parts of Ghail Bawazir for several months last year, an Islamist source said.