Yemen Drone Strikes on al-Qaida Continue for 3rd Day on Monday

Image: Yemen Drone Strikes on al-Qaida Continue for 3rd Day on Monday People gather near a destroyed car that was carrying militants in the Sawmaa area of al-Bayda province, Yemen, Saturday.

Monday, 21 Apr 2014 12:39 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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More U.S. drones blasted targets in a mountainous region in Yemen on Monday in a continued offensive that started over the weekend, killing more than 40 al-Qaida fighters over the past three days.

Monday's strikes killed several al-Qaida militants, including a local militant commander, Yemeni security officials and tribal chiefs said, told Fox News. According to The Associated Press, the strikes focused on the mountain area of Mahfad between the provinces of Abyan and Shabwa.

Neither the Pentagon nor the Obama administration have commented on the new Yemen drone strikes, according to the AP.

On Sunday, Fox News reported that airstrikes destroyed a suspected al-Qaida training camps in the same mountain region in southern Yemen, killing numerous fighters, but a high-level Yemen government security committee did not know a death figure.

Yemen's official news agency SABA quoted an unnamed official who said foreign fighters and suspected leading in al-Qaida died Sunday, according to Fox News.

The predawn bombing is in the same region where throngs of al-Qaida supporters had come to hear Nasir al-Wuhayshi, leader of the Yemen branch of the terrorist organization, reported CNN.

According to CNN, the ongoing operation included a Sunday night ambush in which Yemeni special forces killed militants believed to be high-value targets in al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Yemeni commandos exchanged gunfire with and killed militants who were in a vehicle on a highway in southern Yemen's Shabwa province. Yemeni forces collected the bodies and will perform DNA testing to determine the militants' identities, according to an official.

CNN reported last week about the emergence of a video showing al-Wuhayshi, the No. 2 leader of al-Qaida worldwide, during the Yemen gathering, proclaiming how he wants to attack the United States, sparking an examination by the U.S. officials.

"This is quite an extraordinary video," CNN terrorism expert Paul Cruickshank told the network. "His message to the United States was very much the same as (former al-Qaida leader Osama) bin Laden's: 'We're coming after you.'"

"We must eliminate the cross. ... The bearer of the cross is America," CNN wrote that al-Wukayshi was quoted as saying in the video.

CNN reported that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is the home of Ibrahim al-Asiri, who is thought to be responsible for the failed 2009 Christmas Day underwear bomber attack in Detroit and other attempts.

"The main problem about this group is that it has a bomb maker who can put bombs on to planes that can't be detected," CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen said.

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