Sanaa: Al Qaeda`s Yemen branch said
on Thursday that it killed an American teacher because he was trying
to spread Christianity in the mainly Muslim Arab nation.
Joel Shrum, a 29-year-old native of Mount Joy,
Pennsylvania, was gunned down on Sunday in the central city of
Taiz, where he had been living with his wife and two sons. He
was studying Arabic and teaching English at a language
The claim of responsibility, which was posted on a
militant website, comes as the terror network increasingly has
sought to exploit the political turmoil in the Arab world`s
most impoverished nation.
"It was God`s gift for the mujahedeen to kill the
American Joel Shrum who was actively proselytizing under the
cover of teaching in Taiz," said the statement by al Qaeda in
the Arabian Peninsula, as the terror network`s Yemen branch is
The slain teacher had worked at the International
Training and Development Center, which was established in the
1970s and is one of the oldest foreign language institutes in
A text message that circulated by mobile phone in Yemen
after his killing said "holy warriors" had killed "a senior
missionary" in Taiz, the country`s second most populous city
after the capital Sanaa.
Shrum`s parents, who reside in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,
say he went to Yemen in 2009 to learn Arabic, not to
proselytize, and became passionate about teaching business
skills to Yemenis.