Five suspected al Qaeda militants killed in Yemen drone strikes

DUBAI (Reuters) - Five suspected al Qaeda militants were killed in drone strikes on two villages in Yemen’s al Baida governorate on Saturday, a local official and residents said.

“The strikes targeted two villages where al Qaeda is known to be active,” a local official said, adding that a total of five were killed in the strikes in central Yemen.

Residents said two suspected militants were killed when a drone targeted the car they were traveling in.

Three people were injured in the strikes, they said.

Yemen’s al Qaeda branch, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has taken advantage of a more than two-year-old civil war between the Iran-aligned Houthi group and President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Saudi-backed government to strengthen its position in the impoverished country.

The United States has repeatedly attacked AQAP with aircraft and unmanned drones in what U.S. officials say is a campaign to wear down the group’s ability to coordinate attacks abroad.

Writing By Maha El Dahan; Editing by Ros Russell