Drone strike kills two suspected al-Qaeda militants in Yemen

Drone strike kills two suspected al-Qaeda militants in Yemen
2 min read
30 September, 2016
Another drone strike in Yemen's Bayda province had left two suspected al-Qaeda militants dead, a local government official said on Friday.
The US has conducted several drone strikes against AQAP in Yemen [Getty]

Two suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed in a drone strike in central Yemen on Friday, a local government official said.

The pair were lying under a tree in Rada in Bayda province when they were hit by a rocket, the official said.

Washington considers al-Qaeda's Yemen-based franchise to be its most dangerous affiliate and has kept up its drone war - which began in 2009 - throughout the conflict.

On Wednesday, the US acknowledged killing four al-Qaeda militants in drone strikes in Yemen, in a rare admission by Washington of a campaign of targeted killings.

Two of the militants were killed on 20 September in the Marib province, the military's central command for the Middle East said in a statement.

The second attack, on 22 September in central Baida province, and killed the other two al-Qaeda members, it said.

"These were al-Qaeda operatives who continue to support their organisation's destabilising effects in Yemen," said Army Major Josh Jacques, US Central Command spokesman, in the statement.

"US Central Command continues to protect the US, its allies and partners from these threats by denying Yemen as a haven for [al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula]."

The drone strikes had been reported by Yemeni security officials but this was the first time the US claimed them.

Last week, local officials said that four members of al-Qaeda's Yemen branch - including a local commander - had been killed in a suspected US drone strike while travelling in a vehicle east of the capital Sanaa.

The Islamic State group and al-Qaeda has taken advantage of fighting with the rebels who control the capital to expand their presence in the province.

Al-Qaeda attacks mainly target the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels but last year the group also claimed responsibility for an attack on the Paris office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Meanwhile at least 10,000 people have been killed since the Saudi-led coalition force launched a military campaign against Houthi rebels in the country.