3 U.S. drone airstrikes kill 5 al-Qaida members in central Yemen

At least five members of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch were killed during airstrikes launched by a U.S. drone in the country’s central province of al-Bayda, a security official told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Around three airstrikes targeted a gathering of al-Qaida militants in Dhi Naim district in the northwestern part of al-Bayda province late on Monday, leaving five militants killed, the local security source said on condition of anonymity.

Other security sources based in the province confirmed to Xinhua that “mid-level commanders of al-Qaida group died during the U.S. aerial bombardment.”

The Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which carries out sporadic attacks against the Yemeni forces in different areas of the country’s southern regions, revealed no statement to confirm or deny the U.S. drone airstrikes.

The U.S. military has carried out several airstrikes against AQAP fighters in different provinces of the war-torn Arab country since U.S President Donald Trump approved expanded military operations against the group.

The expanded operations included intensified overnight airstrikes and ground military raids against the al-Qaida hideouts in the mountainous areas of al-Bayda and southeastern province of Shabwa.

The AQAP, seen by the United States as the global terror network’s most dangerous branch, has exploited years of deadly conflict between Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels to expand its presence, especially in the southeastern provinces.

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