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U.S. drone raid in central Yemen kills 2 al-Qaida suspects

Sanaa, Aug. 7 (Xinhua-ANI): A U.S. air raid hit a suspected al- Qaida target in Yemen’s central province of al-Bayda late on Monday, killing at least two people, a security official and eyewitnesses said on Tuesday.

“A U.S. unmanned warplane killed al-Qaida local leader Abu Osama al-Marebi and one of his fellows while they were on a motorbike in al-Masanih area in central Radda city on Monday night, ” a provincial security official told Xinhua by phone, requesting anonymity.

Residents who rushed to the scene following the explosion said they recognized the sound of the drone, which they said had flown over the area for hours before firing the missile.

The al-Qaida group seized parts of Radda, some 170 km southeast of the capital Sanaa, in mid January, but they left the town after reaching a deal with the central government.

The United States has beefed up anti-terror cooperation with the Yemeni government since Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in February, after a year of political upheaval that allowed the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to capture several cities in the south.

On Saturday, a U.S. drone killed four al-Qaida members in Yemen ‘s southeastern province of Hadramout, according to the Yemeni defence minister’s statement.

The militants were recently either captured or hunted by the security authorities after a U.S.- backed offensive in the southern Abyan province two months ago routed the militants out of their strongholds that they had controlled for nearly a year.

Combating al-Qaida network in the restive south is one of the challenges confronting Hadi, who has promised to reform the army, restore security and uproot the resurgent branch of al-Qaida, locally known as Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law). (Xinhua-ANI)