Three American missionaries were shot and killed in a Yemeni hospital by a suspected Muslim extremist who told police he did it to "cleanse his religion and get closer to God." A fourth missionary was seriously wounded.
The Jibla Baptist Hospital is part of the missionary organization operated by the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board, based in Richmond, Virginia. Jibla is 120 miles south of Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa.
Yemen is located in the extreme southern part of the Arabian Peninsula (sometimes referred to as the "horn" of Africa.) It is bordered by Saudi-Arabia, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, Oman, and is the most rugged and poorest on the peninsula.
The three Americans who died were Bill Koehn (hospital director from Arlington, Texas), Kathleen Gariety (hospital purchasing agent fromWauwatosa, Wisconsin), and Dr. Martha Myers (physician from Montgomery, Alabama). A pharmacist (from Levelland, Texas), Donald Caswell, was also shot and is listed in critical condition.
Police and government soldiers were on guard outside the hospital compound, but there was no armed security inside. Since the shootings, surveillance at the hospital has been tightened. Yemini security forces are searching for a group that may be targeting foreigners and prominent local citizens.
Yemen is the patriarchal homeland of Qaida chief Osama bin Laden Since the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the State Department has issued warnings to Americans they should exercise caution while in Yemen. Heavily armed tribes still resist control by the central government, and guns are plentiful.