* Saudi diplomat gunned down in Sanaa on Wednesday
* Yemeni authorities blame al Qaeda
(Adds kidnapped police officer)
SANAA, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Yemen offered a $25,000 reward on
Thursday for help in catching the killers of a Saudi Arabian
diplomat, a day after he was gunned down in an attack that
security authorities blamed on al Qaeda.
The killing on Wednesday of Khaled al-Enizi, a military
attache at the Saudi embassy, and his Yemeni bodyguard
underscored the challenges facing the U.S.-allied state since an
uprising last year that ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
A Yemeni security committee offered a reward of 5 million
rials ($25,000) for any information leading to the killers,
state news agency Saba said.
Dressed as security officers, the attackers blocked a car
carrying Enizi, an aide to the Saudi military attache, and
opened fire, the security committee said in a statement. The
diplomat and his guard died instantly.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack which took
place near the diplomat's house in the capital but a Yemeni
security official said on Wednesday authorities were "assuming
that al Qaeda was behind it".
In a separate incident, armed men seized Nameeri al-Awadi,
head of traffic police in al-Kotn town in Hadramout province, on
his way back home after the dawn prayer, a local official said.
No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping but the
official said he believed al Qaeda militants were behind it.
Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),
regarded as al Qaeda's strongest regional wing, has mounted
operations in Saudi Arabia and tried to launch attacks against
the United States.
Restoring stability in Yemen is a priority for Washington
and its Gulf allies because of its strategic position next to
top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and major shipping lanes.
"The threats are always there and they usually come from al
Qaeda in Yemen," Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Yemen Ali
al-Hamdan told the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
The Saudis are a major donor to their poor neighbour and
hosted the signing of a power transfer deal under which
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took over as head of state in
February after Saleh stepped down.
Islamists linked to al Qaeda kidnapped a Saudi deputy consul
in the southern city of Aden in March and are still holding him.
They have demanded a ransom and the release of women prisoners,
believed to be relatives of al Qaeda fighters.
(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari in Sanaa, Mohammed Mukhashaf in
Aden and Mirna Sleiman in Dubai; Writing by Rania El Gamal;
Editing by Alison Williams)