Drone strikes kill six militants in Yemen

Published Dec 24, 2012 06:42pm

Yemeni soldiers man a checkpoint at the entrance to the capital Sanaa. -AFP Photo

SANAA: Two suspected US drone strikes killed six al Qaeda militants in Yemen on Monday, including a Jordanian, government officials said.

The first “drone strike targeted a vehicle killing two al Qaeda members, a Yemeni and a Jordanian” in Manaseh of central Bayda province, a local government official said, requesting anonymity.

A security official identified one of the militants killed as Abdullah Hussein al-Waeli, an al Qaeda member from Marib province who was wanted after he escaped from prison two years ago. No details were given on the Jordanian.

Tribal sources said three other militants were wounded in the attack.

Three missiles fired at motorbikes in Hadramawt province killed four more al Qaeda militants, a local government official said.

The official, who requested anonymity, said the missiles were fired by “an American drone,” and that the attack took place in the centre of Shehr, a town east of the provincial capital Mukalla.

Al Qaeda had declared an Islamic emirate in nearby Radaa earlier this year, shortly before being driven out by tribal militiamen.

Tareq al-Dahab, who led the al Qaeda fighters in the January raid on the town, was shot dead in February.

Dahab was a brother-in-law of slain US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi, who was killed in a suspected US drone strike in September.

US drones have backed Yemeni forces combating militants of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group's Yemen branch, considered by Washington to be the most active and deadliest franchise of the global jihadi network.

AQAP took advantage of the weakness of Yemen's central government during an uprising last year against now ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, seizing large swathes of territory across the south.

But after a month-long offensive launched in May by Yemeni troops, most militants fled to the more lawless desert regions of the east.


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