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Drone strike kills 'five al-Qaeda militants' in Yemen

Over 22 million people need humanitarian assistance to survive [AP-file photo]

Date of publication: 25 November, 2018

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A US drone strike has allegedly killed five members of al-Qaeda in Yemen's southern al-Bayda province.

A drone strike probably carried by the US killed five suspected al-Qaeda militants, including a local commander, in central Yemen's Bayda province on Sunday, an official said.

The US military is the only force known to operate armed drones over Yemen.

An official in Bayda province said the five suspects were armed and in a car when the drone targeted them, and included a local militant leader known as "Dahab", gold in Arabic. He gave no further details.

The US considers the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to be the radical group's most dangerous branch.

Drone attacks against AQAP intensified after US President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.

AQAP has flourished in the chaos of the impoverished country's civil war, which pits the Saudi-backed government against the Houthi rebels.

The conflict in Yemen, which escalated when the Saudi-led alliance intervened in 2015, has killed more than 10,000 people and left up to 22 million Yemenis in need of humanitarian assistance, according to UN figures.

Rights groups believe the actual death toll is far higher.

On Wednesday, charity Save the Children said an estimated 85,000 children under age 5 may have died of hunger and disease since the outbreak of Yemen's civil war in 2015.

More than 22 million people - three quarters of the population - now depend on humanitarian assistance to survive.

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