Middle East

Drone hits an al-Qaeda convoy in Yemen

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A drone strike in eastern Yemen has killed two suspected al-Qaeda militants, reports say.

A local security official told the AFP news agency that the unmanned aircraft hit a car in the province of Hadramout.

He added that the strike caused a series of blasts because the vehicle was carrying explosives.

Six days ago the Yemeni army launched an offensive to wrest control of cities in south Yemen from fighters belonging to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Washington and Yemeni officials deny that drones are deployed in Yemen, there are wide reports of their use.

US military specialists are closely involved in the Yemeni government's campaign against militants, according to Yemeni officials and Western diplomats.

Political turmoil has engulfed Yemen over the past year, as opposition protests drove out the veteran leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. A newly-elected government is under pressure from the US to rein in militants who control large areas of the country.

Al-Qaeda militants have taken advantage of the upheaval and breakdown of central government control to gain ground again in Yemen, and it is now considered to be the stronghold of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP).