US drone strike kills local al-Qaeda chief, two others in Yemen

Highlight StoryThis file photo taken on October 21, 2015 shows a US Air Force MQ-1B Predator remotely piloted aircraft as it flies overhead during a training mission in Nevada. The United States is the only country operating drones over Yemen. (AFP Photo)

A drone strike in Yemen likely carried out by US forces on Thursday killed a local al-Qaeda chief and his guard, a security official said.The strike hit a vehicle at Sawmaa in Al-Bayda province, killing Jalal al-Seydi, who was the “emir” of al-Qaeda in the town of Loder, in the neighbouring southern province of Abyan, the official said.

The United States is the only country operating drones over Yemen, but it only sporadically reports on the long-running bombing campaign against the country’s powerful al-Qaeda branch.

The US authorities consider al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based franchise, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to be its most dangerous.

AQAP and the Islamic State group have exploited a power vacuum created by the conflict between the government and Shia Huthi rebels to expand their presence in Yemen, especially in the south and southeast.

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