Soldiers patrol near Jaar in June
Yemeni army troops patrol the road between the provincial capital Zinjibar and the town of Jaar in the southern region of Abyan on June 22. Yemeni forces gunned down two Al-Qaeda militants in a raid on their southern hideout early on Tuesday, hours after drone strikes killed two others in the centre of the country, officials and tribesmen said. © - - AFP
Soldiers patrol near Jaar in June
Last updated: August 7, 2012

Four Al-Qaeda militants killed in Yemen raids

Thirteen suspected Al-Qaeda militants have been killed in Yemen over the past two days, including five non-Yemeni Arabs, officials and tribesmen said on Tuesday.

Yemeni forces shot dead three Al-Qaeda militants in a raid on their southern hideout on Tuesday, hours after drone strikes killed two others in the centre of the country, officials and tribesmen said.

The army and militiamen "raided a house where Al-Qaeda militants were hiding" in Jaar, prompting a firefight in which "two militants were killed and three others were arrested," Mohsen bin Jamila, an official in the region, told AFP.

One of those arrested died of his wounds, he said later.

Abdullatif al-Sayed, who leads the Popular Resistance Committees militia, was wounded during the early morning clashes, the official said.

Jaar, which the army recaptured from the jihadists in June with the help of the militiamen, was the site of a suicide attack on Saturday in which 49 people were killed, according to a new toll provided by hospitals in Aden.

Four Al-Qaeda suspects implicated in the attack have been arrested, according to officials.

Also on Tuesday, three Islamist fighters were killed by a drone stroke in the region of Al-Qotn in eastern Hadramawt province, another area where Al-Qaeda has been active, a local official told AFP.

"I saw three charred bodies near a pick-up truck that had been hit by a missile," he said.

Separately, a senior security source cited by the official Saba news agency, said that attacks carried out in central Yemen on Monday killed an important Al-Qaeda bomb-maker, Abdullah Awad al-Masri, also known as Abu Osama al-Maaribi.

Six other "Al-Qaeda members" also perished, the official added, including two Egyptians, a Bahraini, a Saudi and a Tunisian.

Tribal sources said said earlier that two drones targeting Al-Qaeda positions near the town of Rada, in central Bayda province, had killed two militants, including Maaribi.

Al-Qaeda fighters have been regrouping over the past two days in Al-Hammah and Al-Manaseh, near Rada, which lies 170 kilometres (105 miles) southeast of the capital, according to the sources.

"Four explosions rocked the area, which was overflown by two drones in the evening," said one source. "A car belonging to an Al-Qaeda member was hit by a missile and caught fire."

The United States is the only country that has drones in the region and it has stepped up its strikes on Al-Qaeda targets in the south and east of Yemen.

Washington regards the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as the most threatening branch of the global jihadist network.

Hundreds of Al-Qaeda gunmen bowed to tribal pressure in January and withdrew from Rada, which they had held for nine days.

At the time the fighters were described as close to Tarek al-Dahab, the brother-in-law of the Yemeni-American extremist Anwar al-Awlaqi, killed in a US air strike in September 2011. Dahab was himself killed in mid-February.

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