Yemeni Officials Say US Intensifying Drone Strikes on Al-Qaida

Posted December 30th, 2012 at 11:55 am (UTC-5)
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Yemeni authorities say apparent U.S. drone strikes on al-Qaida's branch in Yemen have intensified, with confirmation of a fourth deadly missile attack on the group in the past week.

Authorities said the latest strike happened late Saturday, when an unmanned aircraft killed three suspected al-Qaida members riding a vehicle in the central province of Bayda. Officials said one of the dead was a senior al-Qaida operative, Saleh Mohammed al-Ameri.

In the earlier drone strikes, two al-Qaida insurgents were killed in the eastern province of Hadramawt on Friday, while at least six others were killed in separate missile attacks on December 24.

U.S.-backed Yemeni government forces have been fighting al-Qaida militants in the country for years. Authorities have reported dozens of apparent U.S. drone strikes in 2012, but the staging of four such attacks in one week is unusual.