Militants killed in drone attacks

US drones killed 10 al Qaida militants – one believed to be a top bomb-maker - in separate strikes targeting moving vehicles in Yemen, officials and the country’s state-run agency said today.

The first attack hit two vehicles carrying seven passengers in the southern town of Radda late last night, killing them all.

The official SABA news agency said one was Abdullah Awad al-Masri, also known as Abou Osama al-Maribi, described him as one of the “most dangerous elements” of al Qaida in the militant stronghold of Bayda province and the man in charge of a bomb-making lab.

Further east, another US drone targeted a second vehicle today carrying three al Qaida militants in the Zoukaika region of Hadramawt, the officials said.

Officials in Yemen often credit the US with carrying out drone airstrikes against the terror network’s local branch, Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which it considers to be the world’s most dangerous. The US rarely comments on its role in Yemen.

Meanwhile, Yemeni troops killed two al Qaida militants and arrested eight others, including non-Yemenis, after storming houses used as hideouts in the town of Jaar, officials said. The raid was part of a wider manhunt seeking al Qaida fighters in towns that were formerly their strongholds.

The government troops’ manhunt comes four days after a suspected al Qaida suicide bomber struck a funeral attended by civilian militia fighters who aided the government’s push to recapture the town of Jaar, leaving 45 people dead and scores wounded.

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