Drone strikes kill 9 ‘Qaeda’ militants in Yemen

SANAA: Drone strikes killed nine suspected Al-Qaeda militants Saturday in southeast Yemen, where the US military launched a failed operation last month to rescue an American hostage, security and tribal sources said.

“Several drone strikes have targeted Al-Qaeda positions in Nusab (in Shabwa province), killing nine members of the network,” a security source told.

A tribal leader said soldiers of an unknown nationality were seen parachuting into the area and clashes ensued, suggesting it could be a new operation to try to free the US hostage.

It was not immediately possible to verify that information.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Thursday threatened the imminent execution of US journalist Luke Somers who was kidnapped more than a year ago in Sanaa.

The United States has said that American and Yemeni forces recently tried unsuccessfully to rescue Somers.

According to Yemen´s defence ministry, Al-Qaeda moved hostages, including the US journalist, a Briton and a South African, days before last month´s US-Yemeni raid in southeastern Hadramawt province.

Yemen is a key US ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda, allowing Washington to conduct a longstanding drone war against the group on its territory.

AQAP is considered by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of Al-Qaeda.

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