SANAA Nov 4 U.S. drone strikes killed a least
10 suspected al Qaeda militants on Tuesday in central Yemen,
where fighting between members of Ansar al-Sharia and Shi'ite
Muslim rebels also killed 10 people, local tribesmen said.
Fighting has been taking place in central and western Yemen
since the Houthis, officially known as Ansarullah, captured the
capital Sanaa on Sept. 21, propelling the group into power
brokers in the U.S.-allied country next door to Saudi Arabia,
the world's biggest oil exporter.
Tribesmen said the drones targeted positions held by Ansar
al-Sharia in the town of Radda in al-Bayda province and a
vehicle used by the group.
They said at least 10 suspected Ansar al-Sharia fighters
died in the strikes, the largest number of casualties in such
attacks since the Houthis advanced in the area in mid-October.
The militants, along with local Sunni Muslim tribesmen, have
been fighting against the advance of Houthi fighters. Scores of
people have been killed since Sept. 21.
The United States acknowledges using drones in Yemen but
does not comment publicly on the practice. Al Qaeda and its
affiliates in Yemen are among the most active wings of the
network founded by Osama bin Laden.
In the latest clashes in Radda, tribal and medical sources
said 10 Houthi fighters died in attacks on their checkpoints at
the entrance to and in the centre of Radda, followed by clashes
that went on for much of the night.
They said medical teams had yet to retrieve all the victims
from the scene of the fighting in the city, where about 60,000
Houthi forces took over Sanaa in September and fanned out
into central and western Yemen. The Sunni tribesmen and al Qaeda
militants regard the Houthis as heretics.
Last Saturday, at least 20 Yemeni soldiers and three
suspected al Qaeda militants died in clashes in the town of
Jabal Ras in the western province of Hodeidah.
An al Qaeda suicide bombing killed 33 people in the central
province of al-Bayda last week. Days later, 30 Shi'ite rebels
and 18 Sunni fighters and their tribal allies died in clashes,
also in al Bayda.
(Reporting by Mohamed Ghobari; Writing by Sami Aboudi)