A US drone strike killed two suspected members of al-Qaeda in southern Yemen, said a security official and residents. Saturday's raid in Ahwar, in the southern province of Abyan, killed two suspected fighters on a motorbike, the security official said. It came after two days of intensive air strikes by US warplanes on fighters in the war-torn country. Tribal sources and residents said another drone fired at a crowd of suspected al-Qaeda militants in al-Saeed, in the adjacent province of Shabwa, but there were no reports on casualties in that incident. On Friday, the Pentagon said it carried out "somewhere over 30" strikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in two days, conducted in partnership with the Yemeni government.
SANAA, Yemen – Yemeni security and tribal officials say suspected U.S. drone strikes have killed three alleged al-Qaida operatives in the country's southwestern Bayda province. They say the two Saturday strikes killed Abu Anis al-Abi, an area field commander, and two others. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information. U.S. drone strikes against suspected al-Qaida targets have been commonplace in the years since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington as a retaliatory measure. Saturday's strikes were the first to be reported since Donald Trump assumed office as Barack Obama's successor.
Amid Syria's five-year-old civil war and Iraq's push to expel the Islamic State group from its major cities, President Barack Obama has quietly reneged on promises of "no boots on the ground" in recent years. But another American ground battle lingers just outside of the spotlight, in Somalia. A campaign involving private contractors, drone strikes and up to 300 U.S. Special Operations troops against the al Qaeda offshoot group al-Shabab has been escalating there over the past year, the New York Times reported Sunday, citing "senior American military officials." Operations in the country, located in the eastern "Horn of Africa," are expected to expand, according to the Times, on top of efforts that have involved the Navy's SEAL Team 6, weekly raids with troops from nearby Kenya and Uganda and interrogation of prisoners. The American use of force there hasn't exactly been welcome.
Yemeni forces backed by Apache helicopters from a Saudi-led coalition wrested the city of Houta from al Qaeda fighters after a gun battle on Friday morning, a local military official said. Their recapture of Houta, the regional capital of Lahj province which has been held by the militants since last summer, is one of the embattled Yemeni government's most important inroads yet against al Qaeda forces who have taken advantage of more than a year of war to seize territory. Government troops began their attack at daybreak and succeeded after several hours of air strikes and heavy combat, the military official told Reuters. Until the attack on Houta, AQAP has suffered few territorial losses despite a stepped-up American campaign of air strikes and drone attacks on its bases.
Drone attacks killed eight men suspected of belonging to al Qaeda in southern Yemen on Saturday night, local residents said, as a U.S. campaign against the militant group goes on amid a wider civil war in the country. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of a war pitting the Iran-allied Houthis against forces loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to grab territory and operate more openly. The United States has kept up a drone campaign against the militants, although it evacuated the last of its military and intelligence personnel from Yemen in March last year. At least 50 al Qaeda militants were killed in a U.S. air strike on an al Qaeda training camp in the mountains of southern Yemen, medics and a local official said on March 22.