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Gunman who killed 3 IMB workers tells court of planning his attack

JIBLA, Yemen (BP)–The Yemeni man accused of gunning down three International Mission Board workers in a hospital testified in court he killed the Americans to defend Islam because he believed they were sterilizing Muslim women and trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Abed Abdul Razak Kamel, 30, said he moved from the Yemeni capital of Sana’a to Jibla after he heard about missionaries working there at a Southern Baptist-run hospital, the Associated Press reported April 21.

“I acted out of a religious duty … and in revenge from those who converted Muslims from their religion and made them unbelievers,” Kamel, who is suspected of links to Al Qaeda, said as his trial opened April 20.

“They were also committing another corruption,” he said, claiming he had learned that women were visiting the hospital to get sterilized, the Associated Press said.

“This is a violation of Islam,” he told the court.

An IMB spokesman told Baptist Press April 22 that any sterilization procedures at the hospital occurred only by written permission of both spouses.

Hospital administrator William Koehn of Kansas, physician Martha Myers of Alabama and purchasing manager Kathleen Gariety of Wisconsin were killed Dec. 30 when Kamel walked into the hospital with a semiautomatic weapon under his clothes and opened fire. Pharmacist Don Caswell of Texas was wounded.

Kamel was arrested the day of the shooting.

He testified in court that he coordinated the attack with Ali al-Jarallah, another Muslim extremist charged with gunning down a Yemeni leftist politician two days before Kamel’s Jibla hospital attack, according to the Associated Press.

In court, Kamel said he had been planning the attack 18 months, scouting out the hospital by visiting there and asking questions about its work. Kamel said he consulted with al-Jarallah often regarding the attack.

“We agreed. (Al-Jarallah) would kill seculars, and I would target Christians,” Kamel said.

Prosecutor Ibrahim al-Delemi asked for the death penalty, and Kamel’s next court appearance was set for April 30.

Al-Jarallah, a member of Yemen’s militant Islamic Reform Party, refused to answer questions at his trial when it opened April 20 in Sana’a. He called his trial “a farce, a legal scandal.” Yemeni security officials believe both suspects belong to a terrorist cell linked to Al Qaeda, the Associated Press reported.

Audiotapes with the voice of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden were seized by authorities at Kamal’s house.

The IMB transferred control of the hospital to a local charity founded by Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kerbi, who also is a Canadian-trained doctor. The hospital is now headed by a Yemeni Health Ministry official, and its staff continues to include American and other foreign doctors.

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