4 al-Qaida militants killed in U.S. drone attack in central Yemen

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-21 17:52:51|Editor: Lifang
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ADEN, Yemen, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- At least four militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch were killed in a U.S. drone attack in the central province of al-Bayda on Tuesday morning, a local military official told Xinhua.

Two missiles were fired at a car carrying suspected al-Qaida militants in Yakla area of al-Bayda, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The drone attack killed the four militants who were driving their vehicle in the mountainous area used as a hideout for terrorists, he added.

Drone strikes against al-Qaida and Islamic State (IS) militants in al-Bayda and other provinces in Yemen have picked up pace during recent weeks.

Yemen's al-Bayda and southeastern province of Shabwa, where dozens of al-Qaida and IS members are believed to be based, are the focus of U.S.-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, and has claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks against Yemen's army and government institutions.

AQAP and IS-linked terrorists took advantage of the security vacuum and ongoing civil war in Yemen to expand their influence and seize territories in the southern part of the country.

Security in Yemen has further deteriorated since March 2015, when a 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.

UN statistics show more than 10,000 people, many of them civilians, have since been killed in ground battles and airstrikes.