ADEN, Yemen—At least three members of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch were killed in a US drone strike early Thursday in the country’s southeastern province of Shabwa, a military official told Xinhua.
At about 6 a.m. local time, unmanned US aircraft fired a number of missiles at a house suspected of being a hideout of the al-Qaida terrorist group, the Yemeni military source said on condition of anonymity.
Residents near the scene in the Saeid region in Shabwa confirmed to Xinhua that the airstrike destroyed the house used by al-Qaida operatives.
An intelligence officer in the province said that a mid-level commander of the Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot is believed to have been killed in the strike.
Details about the identities of the killed militants were not immediately available.
Yemen’s southeastern province of Shabwa and central province of al-Bayda, where dozens of al-Qaida members are believed to be based, have been the focus of American-led airstrikes.
Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional al-Qaida insurgencies in the Middle East.
The Yemen-based Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), known locally as “Ansar al-Sharia”, emerged in January 2009, claiming responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks against Yemen’s army and governmental institutions.
The AQAP and Islamic State-linked terrorists took advantage of the security vacuum and ongoing civil war to expand their influence and seize more territories in southern Yemen.
Security in Yemen has further deteriorated since March 2015, when war broke out between the Shiite Houthi group, supported by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and government forces backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in ground battles and airstrikes since then, many of them civilians.