Blast kills suspected al-Qaeda militants in Yemen

Yemeni soldiers man a checkpoint in the capital Sanaa - 15 April 2014 Security was heightened in Sanaa after the assassination of the deputy governor of al-Bayda

Related Stories

An air strike killed at least 13 suspected al-Qaeda militants in central Yemen on Saturday, security officials said.

The strike in the province of al-Bayda targeted vehicles the insurgents were travelling in at the time.

Some reports say three civilians in another car were also killed.

The exact nature of the strike is unclear, but the US has launched several drone attacks on militants in Yemen in the past.

Al-Bayda has seen serious security incidents recently, and earlier this week suspected al-Qaeda militants shot dead the deputy governor as he was leaving his home.

Yemen's Defence Ministry website quoted a security source as saying a number of "terrorists" had been killed in the air strike.

"An air strike targeted cars that suspected al-Qaeda militants were in and killed 13 of them in the Sawma'a area of al-Bayda," a security source told Reuters.

The US has stepped up drone strikes as part of a campaign against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is based in Yemen.

A US Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft (file photo) The US has faced criticism over its drone programme by human rights groups

Yemen is among a handful of countries where the US acknowledges using drones, although it does not comment on the practice.

Last month, Yemen's President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi defended the use of drones in the country, saying they "have greatly helped in limiting Al-Qaeda activities, despite some mistakes, which we are sorry about."

The drone programme has come under criticism from human rights activists concerned over civilian casualties.

The United Nations said 16 civilians were killed and at least 10 wounded when two separate wedding processions were targeted in December.

Local security officials said the party had been mistakenly identified as al-Qaeda members.

Following the deaths, Yemen's parliament voted for a ban on drone strikes, but analysts say lawmakers are unlikely to be able to halt the US campaign.

AQAP is considered to be the most dangerous branch of al-Qaeda in the world and it overran much of Yemen's south in 2011.

A video posted online earlier this week purported to show AQAP leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi addressing more than 100 members of the group at a mountainous location in al-Bayda.

In the film, thought to have been shot near the border with Shabwa province, al-Wuhayshi pledges to pursue the war against Western "crusaders."

Map of Yemen showing the al-Bayda province

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Middle East stories


Features & Analysis

  • Baby in boxStrange case

    The remarkable appeal of the Finnish baby boxes

  • WW1 gas mask being demonstratedTrench terror

    Did the soldiers of WW1 have an irrational fear of poison gas?

  • Mitt Romney, speaks at the podium as he concedes the presidency during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention 7 November 2012Aura of a loser?

    Mitt Romney looked presidential but could never pull it off

  • A woman holds up a feminist sign.PC virus

    Is liberal speech policing out of control?

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ReadingBest books

    BBC Culture takes a look at ten books you should read in February


  • A car being driven by Cruise Automation technologyClick Watch

    The tech which could allow any car with an automatic gearbox to become self-driving

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.