US drone strikes on suspected al-Qaeda militants in Yemen

US drone strikes on suspected al-Qaeda militants in Yemen
2 min read
29 September, 2016
Two US drone strikes in Yemen last week killed four suspected al-Qaeda militants, the US said on Wednesday, in a rare admission by Washington of a campaign of targeted killings.
The US has conducted several drone strikes against AQAP in Yemen [Getty]

Four suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed in US drone strikes in Yemen last week, the US admitted on Wednesday.

The strikes were the latest in a string of attacks against the group in the war-torn country.

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 Peninsular]."

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

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

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 whilst 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.