ADEN (Reuters) - At least four people were killed and a number of others wounded in a drone strike on a vehicle carrying suspected al Qaeda members in southern Yemen, a local official said on Saturday.
The official said the strike took place at dawn on Saturday on a road to the north of Jaar in Abyan Governorate, near Aden. He did not say who was behind the strike, but previous drone strikes have been carried out by the United States.
Washington does not usually comment on drone strikes.
Yemen is home to an al Qaeda wing that has planned to attack international airliners and was once described by Washington as the movement’s most dangerous branch. Impoverished and turbulent, Yemen is located next door to the world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and major crude shipment routes.
The United States has stepped up attacks on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Yemeni officials said at least six suspected militants were killed in two drone strikes last month. Another six suspected al Qaeda members were killed in January.
Militants allied to AQAP took advantage of Arab Spring chaos in Yemen in early 2011 to seize control of some towns in the country’s southern provinces, including Jaar. Although they were pushed from the towns last year they continue to fight government forces.
Reporting By Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Angus McDowall in Riyadh; Editing by Jon Hemming