A US drone strike aiming for an al-Qa'ida leader has killed five militants as part of a Yemeni offensive against the Islamist group, Yemeni officials said today.
They said yesterday's attack targeted Qaid al-Dahab, a local leader of al-Qa'ida, in a convoy of three cars near the town of Radda, 100 miles (160km) south of the capital, Sanaa. Four other militants were injured. The officials said al-Dahab's fate was not yet known.
Al-Dahab's sister was the wife of Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born radical militant cleric killed by a US drone strike last autumn.
There was no immediate word from Washington on the strike that targeted al-Dahab.
On Sunday, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta defended drone strikes in Yemen as a measure “to defend and protect the United States of America”. He was interviewed by the American ABC TV network.
Al-Qa'ida's branch in Yemen, known as al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula, is one of the movement's most dangerous offshoots. The US considers the impoverished country as a key battleground in the war against al-Qa'ida.
The terror network has had a presence in Yemen for years, but expanded its influence during last year's political upheaval when millions of Yemenis rallied across the country demanding the ouster of their long-time ruler, Ali Abdullah Saleh. The militant group seized control of several towns in the south during the turmoil.
Earlier this year, al-Dahab's brother, Tariq, led militants who stormed and briefly occupied Radda, They pulled out after authorities released 15 of his men from jail. Tariq was later killed in a family feud.
Later yesterday, Yemen officials said seven other al-Qa'ida militants were killed in southern Yemen, but they disagreed over how they died. Security officials said they were killed in an air strike, but the military said they were hit by a missile fired from a ship off Yemen's shore. Local tribal officials said the seven militants were in two cars.
Yemen's army is pushing an offensive to uproot al-Qa'ida-linked militants from their strongholds in the south. The US is aiding the operations. Mr Panetta said its activities “don't necessarily involve boots on the ground”, according to a transcript of the interview on the ABC website.
In their offensive, Yemeni government troops have retaken most of a southern provincial capital from al-Qa'ida fighters.
The officials said the army holds 90% of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, which fell to al-Qa'ida last year. They say 48 hours of fierce fighting left 22 militants and nine soldiers dead.
They said the army was advancing towards Jaar, another town in militant hands for over a year, in a three-pronged attack supported by heavy artillery shelling and air raids.
Headlines Newsview all
A man has been arrested on suspicious of murder after a woman and a baby were found dead at a home in Hackney. A 45-year old ...
One of the richest towns in Britain also has the highest number of people having extramarital affairs, according to new research. Wealthy Maidenhead tops a new ... Full story
A trainee teacher hanged himself on New Year’s Eve after a split from his girlfriend, an inquest heard today. Keiran Walsh, 22, split from his partner ... Full story
Rate this article
MOST POPULAR ON CAPITALBAY
- 'Don't Have Any Parties': Last Words of Mother Days Before Her Son Threw a Massive Party and Drunken Facebook Crashers Trashed Her £1m House
- Woman Driver's Fury After Commons Speaker 'Clipped Her Car as He Parked Outside a London restaurant'
- Swarms of Massive Insects Kill More Than 40 and Injure 1,600 in China
Elvis Romeo Lingurar's skull was crushed at a demolition siteThe 24-year-old construction worker had half removed by doctorRomanian has spent one year without half a ...
Public Enemy rapper Flavor Flav admits chasing girlfriend's son with a knife and threatening to kill him
Attack took place at Flavor Flav's Las Vegas home in October 2012 Teenage boy testified that Flav chased him with a kitchen knifeSaid rapper threatened ...
Peter Clarke, 58, ran Scotland Yard's national counter-terrorism unitNow appointed Education Commissioner by the Department for EducationDfE wants him to conduct thorough investigation into 'Trojan ...
Buildings fit for an oligarch! The amazing collection of garish post-Soviet projects constructed since the fall of Communism
By Sara Malm Published: 11:59 GMT, 15 April 2014 ...
Only 25 copies of The Beano's first edition are still in existenceThis edition has a starting price of £3,499 and could be sold for much ...
Bogus roofer from family of rogue traders facing prison for ripping off elderly customer three years after identical scam
Danny Sherwood, 30, has been found guilty of seven counts of fraudOvercharged 73-year-old £2,150 for £630 work he carried out to her houseIn 2011 overcharged ...
Will the Edinburgh Zoo pandas finally have a cub? Tian Tian artificially inseminated after failing to mate naturally with Yang Guang again
Zoo bosses were hopeful that Tian Tian would mate with male Yang GuangThey intervened when the panda's hormone levels started to drop quicklyHopes of pregnancy ...
By Damien Gayle Published: 11:44 GMT, 15 April 2014 ...
Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic announces British luxury SUV firm Land Rover provide all transport within Spaceport America, in New MexicoThe prestigious partnership comes as ...
Sex pest who stalked part-time barmaid bombarding her with 'disturbing' messages picked on the wrong woman... because she is also a CID detective
David Miasik, 45, was 'obsessed' with part-time barmaid Claire EdwardsHe sent her messages saying he loved her and begging her to speak to himBut he ...