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Middle East

Killings in Yemen after US drone strike

At least three killed after US drone targets al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen, according to an official.
Last Modified: 30 Dec 2012 08:01
New America Foundation says that US drone attacks in Yemen have risen from 18 in 2011 to 53 in 2012 [Reuters]

In the fourth such attack in a week, a US drone strike has killed three suspected al-Qaeda militants in the central Yemen province of Al-Bayda, according to a local official.

The unmanned plane fired missiles at a vehicle near the village of al-Manaseh in Rada late on Saturday, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Among those who died was prominent local fighter Saleh Mohammed al-Ameri, the official said, adding that two other militants were killed and two were wounded.

On Friday, a US drone strike killed two suspected members of al-Qaeda in the town of Shehr in the eastern province of Hadramawt.

This followed a similar operation last Monday when six other suspected members of Al-Qaeda, including a Jordanian, were killed in separate strikes in Rada and Shehr.

US drones have backed Yemeni forces combating militants of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group's Yemen branch, considered by Washington to be the most active and deadliest franchise of the global jihadist network.

The Washington-based think tank New America Foundation said on Thursday that US drone attacks in Yemen have risen to 53 this year, compared to 18 last year.

AQAP took advantage of the weakness of Yemen's central government during an uprising last year against now ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, seizing large swathes of territory across the south.

But after a month-long offensive launched in May by Yemeni troops, most militants fled to the more lawless desert regions of the east.

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