US jets kill 15 Al Qaeda militants in Yemen
SANAA US AIRSTRIKES targeting leaders from Yemen’s active Al Qaeda branch killed 15 suspected militants, Yemeni officials said on Tuesday.
Yemeni security and military officials said missiles struck a school and a car in Abyan province in an area between Lauder and Mood where the militants were believed to be hiding.
A Western official in Washington confirmed the US carried out a strike against suspected leaders from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, but said initial indications were that five people were killed. The official did not say where the strike occurred or specify whether it was carried out by a drone or a warplane.
All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to release the information.
Security across Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has largely collapsed during the nearly year-old popular uprising against longtime autocratic President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The militants have exploited the security vacuum, stepping up operations across the weakly governed provinces while authorities focused their resources on putting down the uprising that was inspired by other Arab Spring revolts.
Also on Tuesday, armed tribesmen from the al Mahweet province kidnapped six United Nations workers — an Iraqi woman, a Palestinian woman, a Colombian man, a German man and two Yemeni men. The assailants demanded that the government release fellow tribesmen from prison.
Tribes in Yemen have historically used kidnapping as a way of getting concessions from the government and hostages are ordinarily well treated before being released.
Yemeni Interior Minister Ali al Omrani, meanwhile, escaped an assassination attempt when his car came under fire on Tuesday outside the Cabinet building in the capital Sanaa, according to his spokesman Abdul-Basit al Qaidi.
“Three bullets targetted Omrani’s car as he left the government headquarters following a cabinet meeting,” the official said, requesting anonymity.