Drone strikes killed five suspected Al-Qaeda militants in southern Yemen on Wednesday, a security official said, as the US intensifies air raids on jihadists in the war-torn country.
Four suspected members of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula died when two missiles hit a vehicle on the outskirts of the town of Mudiyah in Abyan province, the official said.
In a separate raid, three missiles hit a motorbike driving down a side street in the town of Rawda in nearby Shabwa province, killing a man known locally as an AQAP member, the official said.
The raids come two weeks after US President Donald Trump\’s administration reportedly gave the CIA new powers to conduct drone strikes against extremist targets in the Middle East.
Since March 2, the US has launched dozens of strikes against Al-Qaeda targets in Abyan and the neighbouring provinces of Shabwa and Baida.
In the first three days of the strikes at least 22 suspected AQAP fighters were killed, security officials and tribal sources have said.
More than two years of civil war in Yemen between government forces and Shiite rebels who control the capital have created a power vacuum which AQAP has exploited to consolidate its presence in the south and east.
Washington regards AQAP as the jihadist network\’s most dangerous arm and says that in recent months it has been plotting attacks on the West.