Air Raid on Qaida in Yemen Kills 4إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Four suspected Al-Qaida militants were killed in an air raid that targeted their vehicle on Monday, Yemen's Defense Ministry announced, after tribal sources earlier said strikes by U.S. drones killed two.
"Four Al-Qaida terrorists were killed in an air raid today," said the Defense Ministry's news website 26sep.net, adding the attack took place on the road between Marib province, an Al-Qaida stronghold, and Sanaa.
Tribal sources said earlier on Monday that two U.S. drone strikes targeting a vehicle killed two suspected Al-Qaida militants on a road between Marib and Al-Jawf, northeast of Sanaa.
The attack was carried out on a vehicle carrying five members of the group, the tribal sources said, adding that three had managed to flee.
"Two Al-Qaida militants were killed in two drone strikes that targeted their vehicle" in Nakhla, a town 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Sanaa, one source said.
Those killed were identified as Qasem Naser Tuaiman and Ali Saleh Tuaiman.
The two had been in a prison a year ago for joining Al-Qaida but on their release headed to the southern province of Abyan where they joined jihadists fighting the army, the sources added.
The latest strike against the extremist network comes after air raids attributed to a U.S. drone killed nine suspected members of the group on Saturday.
Monday's raid brings to at least 27 the number of people killed in suspected U.S. drone strikes since December 24.
Strikes by U.S. drones in Yemen nearly tripled in 2012 compared to 2011, with 53 recorded against 18, according to the Washington-based think tank New America Foundation.
Washington has stepped up its support for Yemen's battle against militants of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which it regards as the most active and deadliest franchise of the global network.
The group took advantage of the weakness of Yemen's central government during an uprising in 2011 against now ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, seizing large swathes of territory across the south.
But after a month-long offensive launched in May last year by Yemeni troops, most militants fled to the more lawless desert regions of the east.