US drones target militant suspects in Yemen, Pakistan

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US drone strikes targeting al-Qaeda positions in Yemen and members of the Taliban in Pakistan killed in total nine militants, officials reported on Thursday.

Four separate US drone strikes killed at least seven suspected al-Qaeda members in Yemen. A dawn strike targeted the home of a known al-Qaeda member in the Yashbum Valley in the southern province of Shabwa province, a provincial security official told AFP.

Four suspected militants who had been standing outside the house were killed, he said.

A second strike, on al-Qayfa in Bayda province, further north, killed three suspected al-Qaeda members, a local official and a tribal chief said.

A third strike targeted the militants in the Sawmaa district of the province, the local official said.

And a fourth targeted an al-Qaeda position east of Shaqra in the southern province of Abyan, a security source said.

Related: Obama’s drone legacy in war-torn Yemen, will it continue under Trump?

Al-Qaeda briefly overran Shaqra early last month just days after the January 29 US raid on one of their compounds in Baida province. The raid cost the life of as many as 16 civilians - eight women and eight children.

Meanwhile a suspected missile-firing US drone killed two Afghan Taliban militants on Thursday in a Pakistani village near the Afghan border, Pakistani officials in the area and a village elder said.

Pakistani officials said the missile struck the two men while they were riding a motorcycle in the northwestern Kurram Agency, part of a lawless ethnic Pashtun tribal belt along the Afghan border areas where militants from both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, as well as al-Qaeda, operate.

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US drone attacks inside Pakistan have become rare over the past few years and the latest strike, if confirmed, would be the first in the nuclear-armed nation since US President Donald Trump took office in January.

In the past, both the US military and the Central Intelligence Agency have conducted drone strikes in Pakistan.

A Pakistani government official identified one of the men killed as Qari Abdullah Subari, a senior commander from the Afghan Taliban. A Pakistani intelligence source said the other man was also a Taliban member named Shakir.

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