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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 28 May 2018

Saudi Arabia says two Al Qaeda leaders killed in Yemen

An offensive by UAE-backed coalition forces continues to clamp down on terrorists in the south of Yemen

Yemeni fighters loyal to the government ride in the back of a pickup truck while closing in on a suspected location of an Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader in February. Saleh Al Obeidi / AFP
Yemeni fighters loyal to the government ride in the back of a pickup truck while closing in on a suspected location of an Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader in February. Saleh Al Obeidi / AFP

Coalition-backed forces killed two Al Qaeda militants in Yemen in a raid in the southern province of Abyan on Wednesday, the Saudi state news agency reported.

It described Murad Abdullah Mohammed Al Doubli, known as Abu Hamza Al Batani, and Hassan Basurie as among "the most dangerous leaders" of Al Qaeda in Yemen, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The two men were killed in a clash with forces backed by the UAE, a key component of the Saudi-backed coalition that intervened in Yemen's civil war in 2015, said the statement issued late on Wednesday.

Yemeni special forces in February launched the offensive, code-named "Al-Faisal", against Al Qaeda cells in oil-rich Hadramawt province.

Read more: UAE-backed campaign puts Al Qaeda under pressure in Yemen

AQAP has tried to take advantage of the three-year war between the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi's internationally-recognised government to strengthen its position in the Arab world's poorest country.

There was no immediate statement confirming the deaths from AQAP, which operates in several provinces in south and eastern Yemen, including in Abyan, Shabwa and Al Bayda.