SANA, Yemen — US drones killed 10 Al Qaeda militants — one believed to be a top bomb maker — in two strikes targeting moving vehicles in Yemen, officials and the country’s state-run agency said Tuesday.
The first attack hit two vehicles carrying seven people in the southern town of Radda late Monday, killing them all. The official SABA news agency said one was Abdullah Awad al-Masri, also known as Abou Osama al-Maribi, whom it described as one of the “most dangerous elements” of Al Qaeda in the militant stronghold of Bayda Province and the man in charge of a bomb-making lab.
SABA did not specify his nationality. The dead also included a Bahraini, a Saudi, two Egyptians, and one Tunisian, SABA reported. Officials said the strike was carried out by a drone.
Farther east, another US drone targeted another vehicle Tuesday carrying three Al Qaeda militants in the Zoukaika region of Hadramawt, the officials said.
Officials in Yemen often credit the United States with carrying out drone airstrikes against the terror network’s local branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which some analysts consider to be the world’s most dangerous. The United States rarely comments on its role in Yemen.
Meanwhile, Yemeni troops killed two Al Qaeda 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 Qaeda fighters in towns that were formerly their strongholds.
Jaar and other towns in the south were seized by the militants last year during Yemen’s popular uprising. The army drove them out in a months-long offensive launched with the help of US advisers in May. But militants fled to nearby mountains, and a lingering security vacuum appears to have encouraged some to attempt a comeback.
The government troops’ manhunt comes four days after a suspected Al Qaeda 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.