Two drones attacks killed as many as eight men suspected of belonging to al Qaeda in southern Yemen on Saturday night, local residents said, as the U.S. campaign against the militant group continues amid a wider civil war in the country.
The missiles targeted the fighters who had gathered in courtyards in the villages of al-Hudhn and Naqeel al-Hayala, Reuters cited residents from the southern coastal province of Abyan.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has made use of a war tearing the Iran-allied Houthis against forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to seize territory and operate more openly.
Yemen has been a hotspot for the militant group for several years now. Al Qaeda also schemed to blow up U.S.-bound airliners and claimed responsibility for the January 2015 attack in Paris on a French satirical magazine that killed 12 people.
Despite evacuating the last of its military and intelligence personnel from Yemen in March last year, the United States has kept up a drone campaign against the militants. Its attacks have killed some of AQAP’s top leaders, including its chief, Nasser al-Wuhayshi, who was struck by a drone in June.
The United States has acknowledged using drones but refrains from commenting on specific attacks.
At least 50 al Qaeda militants were killed in a U.S. air strike on an al Qaeda training camp in the mountains of southern Yemen, medics and a local official said on March 22.