At least 16 suspected militants killed in blast and strikes in Yemen

Mon, Jan 21, 2013, 00:00

More than 10 suspected al-Qaeda operatives were killed by an explosion in a house in south Yemen where they were making bombs, and at least six others died in two strikes from US drones, tribal and official sources said yesterday.

A bomb ripped through a house in the province of al-Bayda on Saturday night, state news agency Saba and a local official said.

Strikes by suspected US drone aircraft killed three people on Saturday and another three yesterday in central Maarib province, according to tribal and government sources. The Yemeni defence ministry said a number of militants were killed in two air strikes but gave no further details.

The US does not comment on strikes by its pilotless aircraft, which it has used to hunt militants in Yemen for years. The Yemeni government allows US strikes but usually does not comment on the US role in specific incidents.

Yemen’s government has been fighting a powerful branch of al-Qaeda that grew in power and influence amid chaos in the impoverished state two years ago during a popular uprising against former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is considered by western governments to be one of the most active and dangerous wings of the global network founded by Osama bin Laden and has attempted a number of attacks against US targets.

Bomb-making

The house destroyed in al-Bayda had been used for making bombs, an official from the area said. “We heard a massive explosion that terrified people and when we went to the house it was destroyed and everyone there was dead,” the official said.

In Maarib, a pilotless aircraft carried out two strikes against a car on Saturday, a witness said. “One of the strikes missed the target and the other hit the car and left the bodies of the three people in it completely charred,” the witness said. – (Reuters)