By Pol O. Gradaigh, dpa
May 29, 2012
CAIRO — Nine people, including seven suspected members of al-Qaida, were killed Monday in two separate air raids in central and eastern Yemen, according to local media reports.
Six suspected members of the militant group were killed in an air raid on the outskirts of Mokalla, the capital of eastern Hadhramaut province, independent news site al-Masdar Online reported quoting local sources.
In another air raid in central Bayda province, three men were killed when a drone fired at a car thought to have been carrying Qaid al-Dhahab, a suspected al-Qaida leader in the province, the website reported.
The three killed included one member of al-Qaida, according to al-Masdar Online, but the leader escaped.
Bayda borders southern Abyan province, where Yemeni government forces backed by U.S. drone strikes have been stepping up their fight against militants in recent weeks.
The militants have taken advantage of a year of political turmoil and a weak central government to seize control of some southern areas of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.