An American communications officer at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, North Yemen, was wounded by an unidentified gunman yesterday, but officials here said they had no evidence indicating that the shooting was a reprisal for the April 15 U.S. air strikes against Libya.
The wounding of the embassy employe, identified as Arthur L. Pollick, 41, came 10 days after another American communications officer was shot in the head and seriously wounded as he left the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan.
State Department spokesman Charles Redman said Pollick was "in stable condition" following surgery at a Sanaa hospital and that "his life does not appear to be in danger."
Redman and other officials said Pollick had dropped his family off at an embassy annex used as a chapel and was driving home when the gunman fired several shots from a passing car. "He was hit by two or three bullets but was able to walk to his home and call for help," Redman said.
The shooting came on a day when two other terrorist incidents occurred in Western Europe, where various governments have voiced concern that the U.S. strikes against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi might led to an upsurge of international terrorism.
In Lyons, France, Kenneth Marston, 43, British manager of the Black & Decker tool company's French subsidiary, was shot to death by a hooded gunman. An anonymous call to a news agency claimed that Marston was shot by an Arab group as part of a campaign to "destroy all American and English imperialist interests." French police expressed caution about the claim. Details on Page A19
And in Madrid, a car bomb explosion demolished a passing vehicle filled with Spanish civil guards, killing five and badly injuring four others. However, Spanish officials said the attack appeared to be the work of Basque separatists. Details on Page A18
The United States has said the April 15 raid on Libya was a self-defense measure prompted by evidence that Qaddafi was directing an international terrorist campaign against Americans and designed to deter him from further terrorist actions.
Asked about a connection between the raid and the Sanaa and Khartoum attacks, Redman said, "At this point, I am not in a position to give you any further information as to whether or not those incidents, either one or the other, can be linked to Libya or to anyone else, for that matter . . . .
"It's still too early to tell what effect the attack on Tripoli may have had, or will have, on the Qaddafi regime. We had, of course, recognized the possibility in the short run that terrorists might lash out and that terrorism might increase. Over the long term, we expect sponsors of terrorism to recognize that whatever benefits are perceived from international terrorism, that those are more than offset by the costs they'll have to pay."
North Yemen, on the Red Sea at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is friendly to the United States. Vice President Bush visited there two weeks ago as part of a regional tour, and U.S. officials said there had been no discernible increase in anti-American sentiment in Sanaa in the wake of the Libya raid.
Redman said that after yesterday's attack on Pollick "the response from Yemeni authorities, in terms both of medical assistance and of security for Americans, has been excellent."
An estimated 200 to 300 Americans live in North Yemen, including about 40 diplomats assigned to the embassy. Most of the others are oil company employes working on a new refinery in Maareb.
After the Khartoum shooting, most nonessential American embassy personnel and their dependents were evacuated from Sudan because of U.S. concern about that country's increasingly close ties with Libya. However, officials here said yesterday that there are no plans for a similar evacuation from North Yemen.
Marston, the victim in Lyons, was the third Briton murdered since the Libya raids, which were carried out in part by U.S. warplanes that took off from bases in Britain, with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's approval. Two British teachers and an American librarian, believed to have been kidnaped by a Libyan-controlled terrorist group in Lebanon, were found slain near Beirut last week. A note with the bodies said the three men had been killed in revenge for Britain's cooperation in the Libya attack.
Meanwhile, former Democratic senator James Abourezk of South Dakota, head of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said yesterday that he will initiate a nationwide petition drive to gain support for the release of other American hostages in Lebanon.