U.S. drone kills five Qaeda suspects in Yemen, strikes intensify

ADEN Fri Aug 9, 2013 3:44pm EDT

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ADEN (Reuters) - Five suspected al Qaeda militants were killed in an air strike in eastern Yemen, the Interior Ministry said on Friday, in an escalating campaign against the militant group's Yemeni branch after recent warnings of possible attacks.

The ministry said the men were attacked while they were travelling in a vehicle in the province of Hadramout in an area called Ghail Bawazeer, 45 km (28 miles) from the provincial capital Mukalla.

It did not elaborate on the source of the air strike, but a Yemeni official earlier told Reuters that a U.S. drone fired the missiles.

Residents reported hearing a large explosion and later saw the car destroyed.

"Security authorities in Hadramout are keeping the bodies at a morgue in the hospital while legal proceedings are being finalized," the ministry said.

Yemen said on Wednesday it had foiled a plot by al Qaeda to seize Mukalla, a port city on the Gulf of Aden, as well as two major oil and gas export terminals.

This announcement came after intelligence on potential attacks by militants prompted Washington to shut missions across the Middle East, and the United States and Britain to evacuate staff from Yemen.

Earlier on Thursday, eight militants died in two drone strikes in the central Yemeni province of Maarib and in Hadramout. At least 30 al Qaeda suspects have been killed by drones in the past two weeks, a marked increase in the frequency of such strikes.

Yemen is one of a handful of countries where Washington acknowledges using drones, although it does not comment publicly on the practice.

Security in Yemen is of regional and global importance. As the base for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), considered one of the most aggressive branches of the global militant organization, Yemen shares a long border with Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally and the world's top oil exporter.

AQAP has carried out attacks in Saudi Arabia and has made several attempts on U.S. targets. In 2009, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who had been trained by AQAP in Yemen, tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner with a bomb in his underpants.

(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf in Aden and Mohammed Ghobari in Sanaa; Writing by Raissa Kasolowsky; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Michael Roddy)

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Comments (4)
MikeBarnett wrote:
The US continues to blow up US computers, cell phones, digital cameras, and fertilizer, the basic components of smart weapons. The US wastes billions of gallons of US gasoline, diesel fuel, and aviation fuel. The US wastes billions of US man hours in unproductive work. In addition, islamic insurgents have military chains of command that allow promotion of new leaders to replace fallen leaders. Michael Scheuer, the former head of the bin Laden unit at the CIA wrote that our enemies have “the goals and resources of a nation state, no fixed address to attack, recruit from a 1.5 billion person pool, and fight for a cause in which death while killing enemies earns paradise.” The last time that the West occupied the territory known as Israel, the muslims fought for 195 years to force them out; this war has another 130 years to go, if the US and Israel last that long.

Aug 09, 2013 5:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Lowell_Thinks wrote:
Gee Mike, that’s dismal outlook indeed. Maybe we should just nuke the crazy besterds and get it overwith.

Aug 09, 2013 11:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MikeBarnett wrote:
@Lowell_Thinks

When do YOU plan to nuke the US and Israeli “crazy besterds?”

Aug 10, 2013 4:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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