August 27, 2015 / 3:25 PM / 4 years ago

Drone strike kills five in al Qaeda stronghold in Yemen: residents

ADEN (Reuters) - A drone strike killed at least five suspected militants traveling in a car in an al Qaeda stronghold in eastern Yemen overnight, residents said, the latest in a series of attacks by suspected U.S. aircraft.

The strike around midnight on Wednesday was the second reported this week in the port city of Mukalla, which was seized by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the deadliest branches of the global militant network, in April.

The group has taken advantage of the chaos around a five-month-old war pitting Houthi fighters and forces loyal to Yemen’s exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to grab territory and operate more openly.

Washington acknowledges targeting militants with drone strikes in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country, but does not comment publicly on individual operations.

Mukalla Residents said all five people in the car were killed instantly in the attack, which was confirmed by a local official.

Another pilotless plane killed four suspected al Qaeda militants in a car at the city’s al-Rayyan airport on Sunday, according to media reports.

Separately, a booby-trapped car exploded outside the offices of the local intelligence headquarters in the city of Saber in southern Lahij province, killing a passing civilian on Thursday, residents said.

It was not immediately clear who carried out that attack.

Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf and Mohammed Ghoabri, Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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