Drone strikes kill 7 Qaeda suspects in Yemen: security sources

US has vowed to continue its campaign against AQAP, which it considers to be the ISIS terror network’s deadliest franchise. (File photo: Reuters)

Drone strikes killed seven al-Qaeda suspects traveling in cars in provinces of southern and eastern Yemen on Wednesday, security sources said.

Three people died when a rocket fired from a drone struck their vehicle in a desert area of Marib province, east of Yemen’s rebel-held capital Sanaa, a security source said.

Another security official said a separate drone attack in the southern province of Shabwa killed four suspects in a car on a road leading from provincial capital Ataq to nearby Nisab.

The United States has carried out numerous drone strikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives in Yemen.

American officials said this month that the US military had killed three AQAP fighters in a strike, also in Shabwa.

AQAP has exploited a power vacuum created by a conflict between the government and Shiite rebels to expand its presence in south and southeast Yemen. 

Deadliest franchise 

But the US has vowed to continue its campaign against the group, which it considers to be the al-Qaeda terror network’s deadliest franchise.

A Saudi-led Arab military coalition that backs the Yemeni government has also turned its sights on AQAP, targeting it with air strikes.

The coalition is supporting pro-government forces which launched an offensive this year to retake several towns from AQAP.

In April, the militants seized provincial capital Mukalla in southeast Yemen, and this month loyalists recaptured the capital of the southern Abyan province, Zinjibar.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49