Three killed in Yemeni airstrike
Published Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Yemeni air forces raided the only town in the southern Abyan province where jihadists still have a strong presence, killing three people on Wednesday, a top official in the town told AFP.
"Three Al-Qaeda militants were killed and seven others wounded in an airstrike that targeted one of their positions in the town of Mahfad," said Yaslam al-Anburi.
There have been several air raids on the town since Tuesday, Anburi added.
It is difficult to determine whether the dead were civilians or militants, as most information is sourced from Yemeni military officials, who often claim the dead are Al-Qaeda militants.
In adjacent Shabwa province, a US drone killed five militants on Tuesday, when two missiles pulverised the car they were traveling in, tribal sources said.
Al-Qaeda elements have fled to Shabwa after government forces drove them out of their strongholds in Abyan, including the provincial capital Zinjibar – which jihadists captured last year – in an offensive that began on May 12.
Taking advantage of a central government weakened by an Arab Spring-inspired uprising last year, Al-Qaeda-linked militants had captured Zinjibar, Jaar, Shuqra and other towns across Abyan.
The United States has escalated its drone campaign in Yemen, mirroring its efforts against Islamist militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Washington's use of drone strikes has proved controversial, with attacks often killing innocent civilians.