May 16, 2012-
(CNN) -- Two suspected U.S. drone strikes killed seven al Qaeda militants and eight civilians in the southern part of Yemen on Tuesday, three Yemeni security officials said.
It was the latest of several U.S. strikes in Yemen, which is home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, described by U.S. officials as the al Qaeda affiliate that poses the most serious threat to the United States.
At least seven civilians were injured in the Tuesday strikes, the officials said.
Across Yemen, at least 49 people were killed, including 31 militants, according to a security official. The dead also included eight civilians, five troops and five pro-government local resistance fighters, according to the official.
The United States has increased the pace of airstrikes in Yemen in the last few years. At least 24 of 31 such strikes conducted since 2002 have happened in the last two years, according to the Long War Journal, which analyzes how the U.S. conducts its fight against terrorism.