Yemeni officials: two al-Qaeda fighters killed in south region
Yemeni tribal leaders say security forces have killed two suspected al-Qaeda operatives in the country’s southern province of Abyan.
They say the two men were killed in a shootout with security forces in a raid of their hideout in the district of al-Wadiah.
The tribal leaders spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has long been seen by US officials as the most dangerous offshoot of the global network founded by Osama bin Laden.
Yemen is embroiled in a war between Iran-backed Shia rebels, known as Houthis, and the internationally recognised government, which is allied with a Saudi-led military coalition since March 2015.
Al-Qaeda and a local Islamic State affiliate have exploited the chaos to expand their reach in the poorest Arab country.
The AQAP operates were named as Murad Abdullah Mohammed al-Doubli, known as Abu Hamza al-Batani, and Hassan Basurie. Officials said they were among "the most dangerous leaders" of the group.
There was no immediate statement confirming the deaths from AQAP, which operates in several provinces in south and eastern Yemen, including in Abyan, Shabwa and Bayda.