x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Yemen air raids target suspected Al Qaeda positions

Jets said to be US planes strike villages, killing militants

SANAA // Yemeni military planes struck suspected Al Qaeda positions in Abyan province yesterday, killing six militants, a local official said.

The raid followed overnight air strikes on Al Qaeda-linked camps in central Yemen that officials said killed 27 recruits and wounded 55. Residents said those raids were carried out by US warplanes.

Late on Friday and early yesterday, jets launched several strikes targeting villages close to the city of Al Baida, killing at least 27 militants, officials and residents said. Officials said the attacks were carried out by Yemeni planes, but some air force officials said Yemeni pilots are not trained to carry out strikes at night and so the raids must have been by US planes.

The US has used mainly drones to target members of Yemen's offshoot of Al Qaeda identified as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

A Yemen air force official said that American drones have been constantly flying over the provinces of Marib, Shabwa, Abyan and parts of Sanaa for several months. He said that about 35 US drones carry out surveillance over Yemen each day and that at least four are flying over the country at any given time.

Residents near Al Baida said the night attacks came a few hours after a gathering for militants during Friday prayers. Government officials said that the militants were carrying equipment and weapons to launch attacks in Al Baida province, which saw a recent attack against a military compound.

The Al Baida attack comes after a string of attacks by militants against military facilities and less than a week after militants carried out the deadliest operation against the military, killing at least 185 soldiers in Abyan province.

malqadhi@tehnational.ae

with additional reporting by Agence France-Presse