March 2, 2015 / 9:06 AM / 5 years ago

Drone attack in Yemen kills suspected al Qaeda militants: sources

ADEN (Reuters) - A drone attack killed two suspected al Qaeda militants in the southern Yemeni province of Shabwa on Monday, local residents told Reuters, the latest in a series of strikes in the country gripped by political turmoil.

The attack targeted militants traveling in a vehicle in the Rikhwa region of Shabwa province, residents said.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) ranks as one of the most active branches of the global network founded by Osama bin Laden.

At least six drone strikes have been conducted in Yemen so far this year, killing at least 20 people. In the last attack last week, four suspected al Qaeda militants were killed in Shabwa, local Yemeni security officials told Reuters.

The United States has cooperated with Yemeni security forces for several years to track and bomb AQAP members, a strategy rights groups have criticized as the cause of repeated civilian deaths. Washington acknowledges using drones to combat AQAP in Yemen but does not comment publicly on attacks.

Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Amena Bakr; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Tom Heneghan

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