Two militants shot and killed an American teacher in Yemen early Sunday, an attack for which Al Qaeda is claiming responsibility, according to Reuters.
The gunmen rode up on a motorcycle and gunned down English language teacher Joel Shrun in his car in the central Yemeni city of Taiz, a regional governor told the Associated Press. Officials at the Swedish Institute -- a language school where Shrun was also deputy director -- identified him as the victim and said he was born in 1983.
The assailants escaped after the attack. A police source told Reuters they are believed to be linked to Al Qaeda.
In a text message sent to local media outlets, the group claimed Shrun was spreading Christianity and said he was one of the biggest missionaries in Yemen, CNN reported.
"This operation comes as a response to the campaign of Christian proselytizing that the West has launched against Muslims," the message reportedly said.
The U.S. Embassy in the capital of Sanaa told CNN it had heard reports of an American death and was investigating, though did not confirm an American had been killed.