A soldier sits on a military vehicle as others secure a
checkpoint on a street in Sanaa, Yemen. REUTERS/Mohamed
More than 10 suspected al Qaeda operatives were killed by
an explosion in a house in south Yemen where they were making
bombs, and at least six others died in two strikes from US
drones, tribal and official sources say.
A bomb ripped through a house in the province of al-Bayda on
Saturday night (local time), the state news agency Saba and a
local official said.
Strikes by suspected US drone aircraft killed three people on
Saturday and another three on Sunday in two parts of central
Maarib province, tribal and government sources said.
The Yemeni Defence Ministry said in an SMS text message that
a number of militants were killed in two air strikes but gave
no further details.
The United States never comments on strikes by its pilotless
aircraft, which it has used to hunt militants in Yemen for
years. The Yemeni government allows US strikes but usually
does not comment on the US role in specific incidents.
Yemen's government has been fighting a powerful branch of al
Qaeda that grew in power and influence amid chaos in the
impoverished state two years ago during a popular uprising
against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is considered by
Western governments to be one of the most active and
dangerous wings of the global network founded by Osama bin
Laden and has attempted a number of attacks against US
The house destroyed in al Bayda had been used for making
bombs, an official from the area told Reuters on Sunday.
"We heard a massive explosion that terrified people and when
we went to the house it was destroyed and everyone there was
dead," the official said.
In Maarib, a pilotless plane carried out two strikes against
a car on Saturday, a witness said.
"One of the strikes missed the target and the other hit the
car and left the bodies of the three people in it completely
charred," the witness told Reuters by telephone from the
He said unidentified people evacuated the bodies while
tribesmen blocked the main road linking the capital of Maarib
province with Sanaa on Saturday after the strikes.
The strike on Sunday took place in the Al Shabwan region of
the province, the tribal and government sources said.
Earlier this month, dozens of armed tribesmen took to the
streets in southern Yemen to protest drones they said killed
innocent civilians and fed anger against the United States.
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi spoke openly in favour of
the strikes during a trip to the United States in September.
Praised by the US ambassador in Sanaa as being more effective
against al Qaeda than his predecessor, Hadi was quoted as
saying in September that he personally approved every attack.
AQAP offshoot, Ansar al-Sharia (Partisan of Islamic Law),
seized a number of towns in the south in 2011. Yemeni
government forces retook the areas in a US-backed offensive