RIYADH (Reuters) - Coalition-backed forces killed two al Qaeda militants in Yemen in a raid in the southern province of Abyan on Wednesday, the Saudi government media office said.
It described Murad Abdullah Mohammed al-Doubli, known as Abu Hamza al-Batani, and Hassan Basurie as among “the most dangerous leaders” of Yemen’s al Qaeda branch, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The two men were killed in a clash with forces backed by the United Arab Emirates, a key component of the Saudi-backed coalition that intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015, said the statement issued late on Wednesday, citing security sources.
AQAP has taken advantage of the three-year war between the Iran-aligned Houthi group and President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s Saudi-backed government to strengthen its position in the impoverished Arab state.
There was no immediate statement confirming the deaths from AQAP, which operates in several provinces in south and eastern Yemen, including in Abyan, Shabwa and al-Bayda.
Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Editing by Ghaida Ghantous and Toby Chopra