Drone crashes in Yemeni province of Marib, witnesses, local official say

DUBAI (Reuters) - An unmanned drone crashed in the Wadi Abida area of Marib, a province of Yemen, on Monday, witnesses and a local official said. The drone’s origins were not immediately clear.

The United States has kept up a drone campaign against al Qaeda militants, although it evacuated the last of its military and intelligence personnel from Yemen in March.

Its attacks have killed some of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s top leaders, including its chief, Nasser al-Wuhayshi, in June.

Separately, a Saudi-led coalition began air strikes against Houthi militants and their allies, forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in late March, as they advanced from the northern stronghold of the Houthis towards the southern port of Aden.

The Gulf-backed forces have in recent weeks pushed the Houthis and Saleh’s forces out of Aden, retaken swathes of the south and mounted an offensive in the Marib area east of the capital, Sanaa. But the Houthis remain in control of much of the country, despite almost daily air strikes.

The coalition, which is trying to restore Yemen’s ousted president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, stepped up air strikes on Sanaa and other Houthi-held areas after a Houthi missile killed more than 60 Gulf Arab troops stationed in Marib province on Sept. 4.

Reporting by Mohamed Ghobari; Writing by Yara Bayoumy