03:53 - Source: CNN
Are U.S. munitions being used to kill Yemeni civilians?

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A small number of U.S. military personnel are on the ground inside Yemen

The personnel are part of the effort to root out al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

Washington CNN —  

A small number of U.S. military personnel are on the ground inside Yemen as part of the effort to root out al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, the Pentagon said Friday.

The personnel, who are providing assistance to the Emirati forces and the Saudi-led Arab coalition, arrived in the last two weeks. A U.S. official confirmed that the Saudi operations center in Riyadh that had been focused on fighting Iranian-back Houthi rebels in Yemen recently took on the additional tasks of targeting AQAP inside Yemen.

The U.S. military personnel’s role includes intelligence, advice and assistance, maritime interdiction of ships offshore, aerial refueling and medical support.

The influx of U.S. personnel comes on the heels of four counter-terrorism airstrikes in Yemen since April 23.

Also on Friday, U.S. Central Command said the military has conducted four counterterrorism airstrikes against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen since April 23, killing 10 al Qaeda operatives and injuring one.

The military said a strike on April 23 killed two operatives in the Marib Governorate in central west Yemen; a strike on April 25 killed two in the Abyan Governorate near the country’s southern coast and another strike that day killed two operatives in the vicinity of Azzan; and a trike on April 28 killed four al Qaeda operatives and injured one in Shabwah Province in central Yemen.

CNN’s Jamie Crawford contributed to this report.