December 13, 2016 / 7:43 PM / in 8 months

Four suspected al Qaeda members killed in drone strike in Yemen - officials

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Four suspected members of al Qaeda's Yemen branch, including a local commander, were killed on Tuesday by a drone strike on their vehicle east of the capital Sanaa, local officials said.

It was the latest in a series of strikes by pilotless planes, believed to be operated by the United States, in war-torn Yemen.

The officials said the vehicle was travelling on a main road between the Marib governorate and al-Jawf when it was attacked.

Two senior al Qaeda members were killed in September in a suspected U.S. drone strike in the central province of al-Bayda, the third of its kind in central Yemen in one week.

The United States acknowledges using drones to combat the Islamist militant group in Yemen, regarded as one of al Qaeda's most dangerous branches, but does not comment publicly on attacks.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has exploited Yemen's civil war to carve out a foothold there. Several leaders of the group have been killed by drone strikes in recent years.

Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari,; Writing by Sami Aboudi,; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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