US drone strike kills al-Qaeda chief in Yemen

US drone strike kills al-Qaeda chief in Yemen
An al-Qaeda chief was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen on Thursday, security officials said, in an attack which left dozens of alleged fighters dead.
2 min read
30 December, 2016
Al-Qaeda militants have conducted a number of attacks against security forces [AFP]

An al-Qaeda chief was among 28 militants killed in a US drone strike in Yemen on Thursday, a security official said.

Jalal al-Seydi, who was the "emir" of al-Qaeda in the town of Loder was targeted while in his vehicle at Sawmaa in Al-Bayda province, the official said.

The United States is the only country operating drones over Yemen, but it only sporadically reports on the long-running bombing campaign against the country's powerful al-Qaeda branch.

Yemeni authorities have for months pressed a campaign against militants who remain active in the south and east of the impoverished Arabian peninsula country.

IS and its militant rival al-Qaeda have taken advantage of a conflict between the government and Yemen's Houthi rebels - who control the capital Sanaa - to bolster their presence across much of the south.

The two armed militant groups have carried out a spate of attacks in Aden, Yemen's second city and headquarters of the internationally-recognised government whose forces retook the port city from the Houthis last year.

Al-Qaeda has long been the dominant militant force in Yemen, located next to oil-flush Saudi Arabia and key shipping lanes, but experts say IS is seeking to supplant its extremist rival.

Washington regards al-Qaeda's Yemen-based branch as its most dangerous and has kept up a long-running drone war against its commanders.