Two dead in suspected Yemen drone strike, coalition orders ships out

ADEN (Reuters) - Two people were killed in eastern Yemen on Tuesday in what local residents said was probably an attack by a U.S. drone on al Qaeda members, and Saudi-led coalition warships appeared to be preparing to move against a port held by militants.

Residents said a pilotless plane struck a car traveling on the outskirts of Sayoun, the second largest city in Hadramout province, on Tuesday evening. The strike blew the car apart and its occupants were burned beyond recognition.

The United States has acknowledged using drones but declines to comment on specific attacks.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of a conflict pitting Houthi militiamen against forces loyal to Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to grab territory and operate more openly. The United States has mounted its own campaign against the Islamist militants

The group operates across Yemen and controls the Hadramout provincial capital, Mukalla, which it seized in April last year, soon after the Iranian-allied Houthis forced Hadi to flee the southern port city of Aden for Saudi Arabia. Hadi returned to Aden after the Saudi-led coalition ejected the Houthis.

In the city of Mukalla, workers and officials at the local port said that warships from the Saudi-led coalition had ordered all unregistered ships to leave the facility immediately in what appears an attempt to move against Islamist militants who control the provincial capital’s harbor.

Last week, a drone strike killed three suspected al Qaeda militants traveling in a car in central Yemen.

Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by