A camel walks past fighters loyal to the Saudi-backed Yemeni president as they hold a position during a military operation against Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies in the coastal district of Dhubab on January 7, 2017. (AFP/Xinhua)
ADEN, Yemen, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Two operatives of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch were killed by a U.S. drone strike in the southeastern province of Shabwa on Monday, military source said.
The drone raid came hours after a previous operation that killed eight al-Qaida militants and 12 civilians.
"The U.S. drone fired missiles and targeted a vehicle carrying al-Qaida men in the rugged mountainous region of Bayhan in Shabwa province," the sources, based in Shabwa, said on condition of anonymity.
Residents near the scene confirmed to Xinhua that they saw "a destroyed car with two charred bodies."
On Sunday, U.S. special forces launched a pre-dawn raid in Yemen's central province of al-Bayda, killing eight members of the local al-Qaida outshoot, including senior commanders. Twelve civilians were also killed.
Medical sources in the area said the civilians killed included several women and children, including an eight-year-old daughter of al-Qaida ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone attack in 2011.
In Washington, the Pentagon said one U.S. commando was killed and three others wounded in a fierce firefight early Sunday with al-Qaida militants in central Yemen, the first counterterrorism operation authorized by President Donald Trump since he took office.
Yemen's central province of al-Bayda and the neighboring southeastern Shabwa province, where dozens of al-Qaida members are believed to be based, have been the focus of American-led airstrikes.
Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional Al-Qaida insurgencies in the Middle East.
The Yemen-based Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), also known locally as "Ansar al-Sharia," emerged in January 2009, claiming responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks against Yemen's army and governmental institutions.
The AQAP and the IS-linked terrorists took advantage of the security vacuum and ongoing civil war to expand their influence and seize more territories in southern Yemen.
Security in Yemen has deteriorated since March 2015, when war broke out between the Shiite Houthi group, supported by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and government forces backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition.
Over 10,000 people have been killed in ground battles and airstrikes since then, many of them civilians.