Yemeni soldiers guard a state security court in Sanaa for a hearing of suspected al-Qaeda militants, January 19, 2013
Yemeni soldiers guard a state security court in Sanaa for a hearing of suspected al-Qaeda militants on January 19, 2013. Two US drone strikes targeting a vehicle have killed two suspected Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, tribal sources said, in the second such assault on the jihadist network in three days. © Mohammed Huwais - AFP
Yemeni soldiers guard a state security court in Sanaa for a hearing of suspected al-Qaeda militants, January 19, 2013
AFP
Last updated: January 21, 2013

US drone strikes on Qaeda in Yemen kill two

Two US drone strikes targeting a vehicle killed two suspected Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen on Monday, tribal sources said, in the second such assault on the jihadist network in three days.

The attack was carried out northeast of Sanaa on a vehicle carrying five members of the group, the sources said, adding that three had managed to flee.

"Two Al-Qaeda militants were killed in two drone strikes that targeted their vehicle" in Nakhla, a town 140 kilometres (87 miles) northeast of Sanaa, one source said.

The militants were travelling between the provinces of Marib, an Al-Qaeda stronghold, and Al-Jawf, when their vehicle was hit. Those killed were identified as Qasem Naser Tuaiman and Ali Saleh Tuaiman.

The two had been in a prison a year ago for joining Al-Qaeda but on their release headed to the southern province of Abyan where they joined jihadists fighting the army, the sources added.

The latest strike against the extremist network comes after a similar drone attack killed nine suspected members of the group on Saturday.

Monday's raid brings to at least 25 the number of people killed in US drone strikes since such assaults were intensified on December 24.

US drone strikes in Yemen nearly tripled in 2012 compared to 2011, with 53 recorded against 18, according to the Washington-based think tank New America Foundation.

Washington has stepped up its support for Yemen's battle against militants of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which it regards as the most active and deadliest franchise of the global network.

The group took advantage of the weakness of Yemen's central government during an uprising in 2011 against now ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, seizing large swathes of territory across the south.

But after a month-long offensive launched in May last year by Yemeni troops, most militants fled to the more lawless desert regions of the east.

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