"We can confirm that a U.S. citizen was tragically killed in Yemen," a State Department spokesman told NBC News. "We condemn this heinous crime in the strongest terms and express our deepest condolences to his family and friends."
The U.S. would not name the victim, citing his family's privacy, and conflicting reports surfaced about his identity. Some sources identified him as a Joel Shrun, or Sharm, and others as Joel Wesley.
He was in a vehicle when it was fired on by someone on a motorcycle.
A group linked to al-Qaida claimed responsibility. "This operation comes as a response to the campaign of Christian proselytizing that the West has launched against Muslims," an unidentified person said in a text message to journalists, claiming responsibility on behalf of the Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law).(Keep on reading.)