Sunday, June 2, 2013

US drones kill 8 AQAP fighters in Yemen strike

US drones launched the first strike in Yemen in 12 days, killing eight "militants" in an attack on an convoy in a southern town controlled by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The remotely piloted Predators or the more deadly Reapers launched three missiles at a convoy of pickup trucks carrying AQAP fighters in the Al Mahfad area in the southern province of Abyan today, Xinhua reported.

The target of today's strike was not disclosed. Eight members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were killed in the airstrike, and three more were wounded. No senior AQAP operatives or leaders are reported to have been killed.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters and leaders have regrouped in the Al Mahfad area after being driven from cities such as Zinjibar, Jaar, Lawdar, and Shaqra during a Yemeni military offensive that began in the spring of 2012 [see Threat Matrix report, AQAP regroups in Abyan province]. AQAP controlled the cities in Abyan, as well as other cities and towns in neighboring
Shabwa province, after launching its own offensive in the spring of 2011.

The US has launched one other drone strike in Al Mahfad. That attack took place on May 18. Four AQAP fighters were killed when the drones launched missiles against a vehicle carrying grenades and suicide belts.

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