Drone kills three suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen: official

ADEN Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:45pm EDT

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ADEN (Reuters) - A drone attack killed three suspected al Qaeda militants on Saturday in Yemen's eastern Hadramout province, a local official told Reuters.

"The three armed men were traveling in a vehicle along a desert stretch between Yemen and Saudi Arabia's border when the drone shot two rockets at them. All three are dead," the local official said.

No details were given on whether it was a U.S. or Yemeni drone.

Earlier this month, the Yemeni army sent extra troops to the Wadi Hadramout region in northeastern Yemen to counter attempts by militant group Ansar al Sharia to declare an Islamic emirate in the city of Seiyoun.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) exploited a power vacuum wrought by the 2011 uprising that eventually ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh to carve out areas of dominance in south and east Yemen. Since then, AQAP has repeatedly attacked state institutions, including army camps and state buildings across the U.S.-allied country, killing hundreds of people.

A U.S. ally, with a population of 25 million, Yemen is trying to end three years of political unrest, which began when mass protests erupted in 2011 against Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president of 33 years, who stepped down.

(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Amena Bakr; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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