Skip to main content

Officials: U.S. drone strikes kill suspected militants in Yemen

By Hakim Almasmari, For CNN
updated 4:31 PM EDT, Wed June 13, 2012
U.S. drone strikes killed suspected militants in southern Yemen, local officials say.
U.S. drone strikes killed suspected militants in southern Yemen, local officials say.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • No senior al Qaeda leaders die in the attack in a southern province, officials say
  • Defense ministry: 30 people killed in airstrikes
  • Unclear whether the fatalities were caused by drone strikes or Yemeni forces

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- U.S. drone strikes targeted al Qaeda hideouts in southern Yemen on Wednesday, killing 27 suspected militants, local government officials said.

No senior al Qaeda leaders died in the attack in the Shabwa province town of Azzan, the officials said. The strikes' targets included a home suspected of harboring militants, three senior security officials said.

The defense ministry had earlier said that 30 people died in Azzan airstrikes, but did not say whether the fatalities were caused by the drone strikes or Yemeni forces, who were also conducting airstrikes in the area.

Al Qaeda's operations in Yemen
Al-Qaeda in Yemen wants Western recruits
Henry Crumpton: Al Qaeda may not recover

Militants headed to Azzan after they lost control of Abyan province Tuesday, sending the town's residents fleeing over fear of more strikes.

Obama ramps up covert war in Yemen

"Azzan is where we expect the militants to seek shelter after the fall of Jaar," said a senior security official. "It's their last stronghold in Yemen." The officials did not want to be named because they are not authorized to talk to the news media.

Al Qaeda denied in a statement posted no jihadist websites that any militants were killed and said that 10 drone strikes were conducted in Shabwa.

At least 14 U.S. drone strikes were conducted over the past two days in both southern provinces, security officials said.

One of the strikes targeted the convoy of Jalal Beleidi, a top commander of the Ansar al-Sharia Islamist militant group.

Beleidi, who was fleeing Jaar on his way to the coastal town of Shaqra, escaped unharmed, the officials said.

Yemeni forces are patrolling major towns in the province in search for militants, witnesses said.

The defense ministry said the road linking Abyan to Aden reopened after militants lost control of the province.

Yemen is sending hundreds of troops to Jaar to maintain control of the town, officials said.

Three-hundred al Qaeda militants fled Tuesday, said Jamal al-Aqel, the governor of Abyan, who urged the government to help rebuild the province.

More than 150,000 Abyan residents were displaced last year after fleeing the war. They are living in shelters in neighboring Aden and Lahj provinces.

The new government plans to search for al Qaeda sleeper cells in major Yemeni cities, said Ali Saeed Obaid, a spokesman for the military committee, the country's highest military authority.

See all of our coverage of drones on CNN's Security Clearance

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT