Yemen air strikes kill 15 militants linked to al-Qaida

Bombing raid on Ansar al-Sharia group’s base reported to have been carried out by US fighter planes

At least 15 al-Qaida-linked militants, including a number of tribal leaders, have been killed by air strikes in south Yemen.

The air strikes late on Friday targeted Bayda, about 166 miles south-east of the capital, Sana’a, according to a government source.

“A number of vehicles and cars used by al-Qaida were also destroyed,” he said, adding that the militants were carrying equipment and weapons to launch attacks.

Residents said the fighter planes had raided the western outskirts of Bayda town where the Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law) militants, who have been fighting Yemen’s security forces since mid-2011, were based.

“Flames and smoke could be seen rising from the area,” one resident told Reuters.

Ansar al-Sharia is inspired by al-Qaida but the precise nature of its ties to the global network are unclear. The Yemeni government says they are one and the same.

Al-Arabiya television reported that Friday’s raid was believed to have been carried out by US planes.

Working with the Yemeni authorities, the US has repeatedly used drones to attack militants from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, warned on Friday that Yemen is facing a new wave of internal displacement as tens of thousands of civilians flee tribal clashes in the north and fighting between the government and militants in the south.

It said that in the past two weeks alone, 1,800 people have been displaced by the latest escalation in fighting between government troops and militants in the Abyan governorate. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

from Damien Pearse


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