Middle East

Yemen strikes kill al-Qaeda fighters, says US

Yemeni rides motorcycle past graffiti protesting against US drone operations in Yemen. 5 September 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption The US has previously used unmanned drone aircraft to kill AQAP members in Yemen

The US military says it has killed 13 jihadist militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in "counterterrorism strikes" in Yemen.

US Central Command said in a statement that three strikes were carried out between 24 August and 4 September in Shabwah province in central Yemen.

The statement did not say how the strikes were carried out or give the identities of those killed.

AQAP has taken advantage of Yemen's civil war to seize territory.

The group remains a significant threat to the region, the United States and beyond, according to the Central Command statement.

"Strikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen put consistent pressure on the terrorist network and prevent them from plotting and executing attacks against US persons, our homeland and allies," it said.

AQAP and the rival jihadist group Islamic State (IS) have exploited the instability caused by the war between Yemen's government, which is backed by a Saudi-led multinational coalition, and the Houthi rebel movement.

The UN says the fighting has left 6,600 people dead since March 2015. At least three million Yemenis have also been displaced.