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US strikes kill ‘dozens’ at ISIS training camps in Yemen

Published: Updated:

The US military said Monday it killed dozens of ISIS fighters at the group’s training camps in central Yemen, in the first such strikes in the country’s conflict. Witnesses said villagers were prevented by tribal leaders from approaching the area and retrieving the dead and wounded for fear of additional strikes.

Locals said the camps, both in Bayda province, were named after prominent ISIS figures: Yemen chief Abu Bilal al-Harbi and former global spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, killed last summer in a US air strike.

“US forces killed dozens of ISIS members in a strike on two ISIS training camps... in Al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen, disrupting the organization's attempts to train new fighters,” US Central Command, which oversees US forces in the region, said in a statement.

Also read: Four Houthi field commanders killed near Najran

“ISIS used the camps to train militants to conduct terror attacks using AK-47s, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and endurance training.”

“Strikes against ISIS targets disrupt and destroy militants’ attack-plotting efforts, leadership networks and freedom of maneuver within the region,” the CENTCOM statement read.

“ISIS has used the ungoverned spaces of Yemen to plot, direct, instigate, resource and recruit for attacks against America and its allies around the world,” the CENTCOM statement said. “For years, Yemen has been a hub for terrorist recruiting, training and transit.”

Earlier reports

It was earlier reported that unmanned aerial drones struck two ISIS training camps in central Yemen for the first time in the country's conflict, leaving an unknown number of dead, security sources told AFP Monday.

Witnesses said villagers were prevented by tribal leaders from approaching the area and retrieving the dead and wounded for fear of additional strikes.

Also read: Houthi leader Osama al- Madani killed in Arab coalition raids off Najran

Locals said the camps, both in Bayda province, were named after prominent ISIS figures: Yemen chief Abu Bilal al-Harbi and former global spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, killed last summer in a US air strike.

It entered the war in March 2015 with a series of attacks on Shiite mosques in the capital, leaving more than 140 people dead.The group's last major attack was a suicide bombing in the government stronghold of Aden last December, which killed 48 soldiers.

Al-Qaeda has distanced itself from ISIS attacks, claiming that it seeks to avoid “the shedding of any Muslim blood” while focusing on fighting the “Americans and their allies.”