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Drone strike kills five Yemen Qaeda suspects: official

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—File Photo.

SANAA: A suspected US drone strike in western Yemen has killed five Al-Qaeda militants, including a local chief, a security official and witnesses said on Thursday.

The raid that took place late Wednesday in Dhamar province, killed Hamid Radman al-Manea, known as al-Radmi, and four of his guards, the official said in a statement carried by Saba state news agency.

They were targeted as they headed to Radmi's house, the official said.

Witnesses told AFP that two rockets hit the vehicle transporting the group.

A drone attack in February killed leading Al-Qaeda cleric Adel al-Abab in the eastern Shabwa province.

US drone strikes against Al-Qaeda militants are frequent in Yemen, home to the franchise seen by the United States as the jihadist network's deadliest and most active.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is led by Nasser al-Wuhayshi. In July 2011 he reaffirmed the group's allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of the worldwide Al-Qaeda network since the killing in May of its founder, Osama bin Laden.

US drones strikes in Yemen nearly tripled in 2012 compared with 2011, from 18 to 53, according to the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank.

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