A Yemeni boy runs past buildings that were damaged by air strikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition on March 23, 2016 in the UNESCO-listed old city of Yemeni capital Sanaa. (AFP photo)
ADEN, Yemen, March 27 (Xinhua) -- About three air strikes carried out by U.S. drones in Yemen's southern province of Abyan, killing eight al-Qaida members and three beekeepers, a military official told Xinhua on Sunday.
The U.S. drones launched two air raids and destroyed a training base for the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch in the mountainous area of Mahfad in southern Abyan province late on Saturday night, killing eight terrorists, the local military official said on condition of anonymity.
The third U.S. drone air raid pounded an area used by civilians near the al-Qaida hideout in Mahfad area, killing about three beekeepers and injuring several others at the scene, the military source said.
Local residents told Xinhua that huge blasts rocked the area after the U.S. drone attacks that apparently destroyed arms depots inside the al-Qaida training camp in Mahfad.
The Yemen-based al-Qaida branch group has yet to make comments.
A picture taken on February 28, 2016 shows a window view of damaged houses following air strikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in the capital Sanaa. (AFP photo)
Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional al-Qaida insurgencies in the Middle East.
The AQAP, also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009. It had claimed responsibility for a number of attacks on Yemen's army and government institutions.
It took advantage of the current security vacuum and the on-going civil war to expand its influence in Yemen's southern regions.
Security in Yemen has deteriorated since March 2015, when war broke out between the Shiite Houthi group, supported by former President Ali Abdullash Saleh, and the government backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition.
More than 6,000 people have been killed in ground battles and air strikes since then, half of whom were civilians.