Yemen air strikes kill 23 suspected Qaeda militants

Yemen is the ancestral homeland of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin laden.

Sanaa: Overnight air strikes that residents
said were carried out by US warplanes killed 23 suspected
al Qaeda militants in mountains south of the Yemeni capital,
security sources said on Saturday.

"Twenty-three al Qaeda fighters were killed in air raids
launched late on Friday against their positions," one security
source said.

A police source gave the same death toll from the air
strikes in a mountainous area of Al-Bayda province.
The sources said the raids hit three villages west of the
provincial capital, also called Al-Bayda -- Al-Makhnaq,
Al-Dooqi and Al-Mamdud.

Residents said the raids were carried out by US aircraft,
but those accounts could not be immediately verified.

Yemen is the ancestral homeland of slain al Qaeda leader
Osama bin laden and the jihadist network took advantage of a
protracted anti-government uprising last year to seize large
swathes of the south and east.

Washington has long made the country a major focus of its
"war on terror".

Two of the raids, launched from around 2330 IST and
lasting around three hours in total, struck the homes of Ahmed
and Ali al-Humaiqani, two residents of Wadi al-Makhnaq,
witnesses said.

"An al Qaeda training camp can be found in Wadi
al-Makhnaq," one local resident said.

"Several armed men arrived in multiple vehicles, along
with two trucks loaded with weapons and ammunitions boxes, and
attended Friday prayers in Wadi al-Makhnaq," said the
resident, who declined to be identified.