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US airstrikes on Yemeni al-Qaeda camp kills dozens

Militants were seen rushing to hospital [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 March, 2016

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The US carried out a deadly airstrike against an al-Qaeda training camp in southeastern Yemen on Tuesday, killing and wounding dozens, according to a Pentagon spokesman.
The US military carried out an airstrike against an al-Qaeda training camp in the group's stronghold in southeastern Yemen on Tuesday, killing and wounding dozens, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

The bombing targeted an al-Qaeda training camp in Hajr, west of Hadramawt's provincial capital Mukalla which has been held by the jihadists since April, according to local sources.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the training camp was located in the mountains, and was being used by more than 70 terrorists belonging to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

"We continue to assess the results of the operation, but our initial assessment is that dozens of AQAP fighters have been removed from the battlefield," Cook said.

Witnesses there reported seeing around nine vehicles carrying casualties from the area.

Dozens of al-Qaeda militants were meanwhile seen rushing to the hospital to donate blood, according to residents.

"This strike deals a blow to AQAP's ability to use Yemen as a base for attacks that threaten U.S. persons, and it demonstrates our commitment to defeating al-Qaida and denying it safe haven," Cook said.

The Saudi-led coalition, which launched an air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen a year ago, have began targeting jihadists for the first time last week in Yemen's second city Aden.

Last month, the BBC revealed that al-Qaeda fighters had joined Saudi-led coalition forces in the fight against Houthi rebels.

Fighters from the militant group had teamed up with pro-government militias as well as UAE soldiers on the frontlines of the besieged city of Taiz.

Numerous reports revealing co-operation between al-Qaeda militants and government troops have emerged since the aerial campaign began last March.

Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group (IS) have taken advantage of the conflict between the rebels and coalition-backed loyalist forces to reinforce their presence in the south and east of the country.

The Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, is classified by the United States as the network's deadliest franchise and has claimed attacks on the West in the past.


Agencies contributed to this report

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