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US drone kills five al-Qaeda suspects in war-torn Yemen

The US launched a drone campaign against AQAP in 2009 [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 October, 2017

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A drone strike killed five suspected al-Qaeda militants in the Yemeni province of Marib, east of the capital Sanaa, security officials said on Sunday.

Five suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed in a drone strike in the Yemeni province of Marib, east of the capital Sanaa on Sunday, security officials said.

One official said a US drone had probably carried out the strike, which targeted a car in the province's Saoud district.

The United States considers the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] to be the radical group's most dangerous branch.

AQAP has flourished in the chaos of the country's civil war, which pits the Saudi-backed government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi against Houthi rebels who control the capital.

A long-running drone war against AQAP has intensified since US President Donald Trump took office in January.

An air raid ordered by Trump that month killed a US Navy SEAL and several Yemeni civilians in Baida province, just south of Marib.

Earlier this week, Houthi rebels claimed to have shot down a US surveillance drone over the country’s capital city, with the rebels accusing Washington of collaborating with Saudi Arabia in its bombardment of Yemen.  

"A military source announced that [Houthi] air defences shot down an American MQ-9 surveillance drone in Jader area in the Sanaa province," according to Saba.

An AFP photographer at the scene said dozens of residents rushed to examine the debris from the burning unmanned aerial vehicle - which is produced by the United States - at the northern entrance to the capital Sanaa.

No casualties were reported.

Neither Washington, nor Riyadh have responded to the Houthi reports.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since a Saudi-led coalition joined the Yemen war on Hadi's side in March 2015, and the UN has described the situation as the world’s "worst humanitarian crisis".

Agencies contributed to this report.

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