Drone kills 5 Al Qaeda suspects in Yemen

Seven Yemeni soliders also killed when a shipment of landmines exploded accidentally.

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ADEN // A presumed US drone strike in South Yemen on Sunday killed five suspected members of Al Qaeda and three civilians, a security official said.

The missile hit a vehicle carrying the five Al Qaeda suspects in the Al Said area of Shabwa province.

Three civilians who went to their aid were killed when a second missile struck, the official said.

Also on Sunday, seven Yemeni soldiers were killed and 15 others wounded when a shipment of landmines accidentally exploded in Aden.

The blast occurred as a lorry was unloading the mines in the Jabal Hadid military camp in the centre of Aden, according to officials from the emergency services.

Aden serves as Yemen’s temporary capital since government forces backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition drove the Houthi rebels out of the port city along with four other southern provinces in the summer of 2015.

The capital Sanaa remains under the control of Houthis since they overran it in September 2014.

Militants from Al-Qaeda and its rival, ISIL, have exploited the vacuum caused by the conflict between the government and the rebels to strengthen their control in southern and eastern Yemen.

Washington has sharply intensified its air war against the extremists since president Donald Trump took office in January.

On April 3, the Pentagon said it had carried out more than 70 air raids against jihadist targets in Yemen since February 28.

Before Sunday’s attack, two overnight strikes on Tuesday killed five suspected members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap).

Washington considers Aqap to be the most dangerous branch of the extremist group.

Last month, US media reports said Trump’s administration had given new powers to the CIA to conduct drone strikes against extremist targets in the Middle East.

* Agence France-Presse