An apparent U..S drone attack has killed four suspected al-Qaeda militants in southern Yemen and destroyed an explosives-packed truck, tribal sources said on Saturday.
They occurred on Friday night in al-Mahfad region in Abyan province, the sources said.
The truck was carrying grenades and explosive belts, and the attack destroyed the weapons and killed the vehicle’s four occupants, “members of Qaeda,” one of the sources said.
A local dignitary confirmed to AFP that four people were killed but was unable to say whether they were Islamist militants.
The United States has increasingly deployed unmanned aircraft against Qaeda targets in Yemen, which shelters what Washington regards as the jihadist network’s most dangerous branch – al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
In April, a security official and a witness reported that three suspected Al-Qaeda militants were killed in a drone attack in Wadi Abida, in the eastern province of Marib.
U.S. drones strikes in Yemen nearly surged from 18 to 53 last year, according to the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank.
Yemeni national security chief Ali Hassan al-Ahmadi said in January that drone attacks would continue in cooperation with the United States.
Qaeda loyalists seized large swathes of the south and east in 2011, taking advantage of a decline in central government control during an 11-month uprising that forced veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power.
Governments troops have since recaptured much of the territory with support from U.S. drone strikes, but the jihadists retain bases in the desert east.
Drone strikes kills ‘Qaeda militants’ in Yemen