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Mar 19, 2012 12:32 AM by Jacqui Heinrich

American teacher killed in Yemen for alleged proselytizing

TAIZ, Yemen (AP) - A group linked to al-Qaeda claims it killed an American teacher in Yemen for Christian proselytizing.

Joel Shrum, a 29-year-old English language teacher from Harrisburg, Pa., had worked for two years in the central city of Taiz.

Yemeni officials say Shrum was killed in his car Sunday morning when assailants in military uniforms sped up next to him on a motorcycle, opened fire and then sped away. Witnesses say he was killed instantly.

A text message sent to journalists said, "This operation comes as a response to the campaign of Christian proselytizing that the West has launched against Muslims." It claimed Shrum was "one of the biggest American proselytisers."

The text message from an unidentified person claimed responsibility on behalf of a group called the Partisans of Islamic Law.

CBS affiliate WHP in Harrisburg reports that Shrum is survived by two children and his wife, who also taught at the school in Yemen.

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