US drone kills five al Qaeda militants in Yemen

At least five suspected al Qaeda militants were killed Saturday evening when US drone strikes hit their vehicles in Yemen`s Lahj province, an official said.

Last Updated: Aug 11, 2013, 11:26 AM IST

Sana`a: At least five suspected al Qaeda militants were killed Saturday evening when US drone strikes hit their vehicles in Yemen`s Lahj province, an official said.

The suspected terrorists were killed when an air raid targeted their convoy of two pick-up trucks in the eastern suburbs of Lahj province, Xinhua reported citing a security official.

"Two air strikes were launched by a US aircraft and completely destroyed two cars carrying suspected al Qaeda members in the valley of Bana in Lahj`s suburbs, and killed five. Some of the dead were believed to be foreign nationals," said the official who did not wish to be named.

Official sources said two US drones were hovering over the area, creating panic among the residents.

US intensified its drone strikes on al Qaeda network in Yemen after it closed its diplomatic mission in Sana`a last Sunday.

About 34 suspected al Qaeda militants were killed by US drone attacks in less than two weeks in various regions of the country, according to Yemeni government officials.

The Yemeni government has boosted security around Western embassies in Sana`a as precautionary measure after the US and Britain temporarily evacuated their diplomatic staff from the capital Tuesday over alert of possible attacks by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

AQAP was founded in Jan 2009 after the merger of Saudi and Yemeni branches.

The network is led by Yemeni militant Nasser al-Wuhayshi, who declared in July 2011 the group`s allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of the worldwide al Qaeda network, after the death of its founder Osama bin Laden in 2011.

IANS