Yemeni security forces have confirmed that at least 10 al Qaeda-linked militants, some of whom had been high-ranking, have been killed in air raids in three villages in southern Yemen.
The attacks took place in a mountainous area of al-Bayda province. According to reports, three villages were targeted near Bayda, which is located approximately 130 km (80 miles) southeast of the capital, Sanaa.
A government source said on Saturday that the Yemeni air force has killed 15 al Qaeda-linked fighters.
"A number of vehicles and cars used by al Qaeda were also destroyed," the source added.
Eyewitnesses and a local TV news station claimed the attacks were carried out by US forces.
In cooperation with Yemeni authorities, the US has carried out drone attacks on militants in Yemen in the past. In January, a drone strike killed at least 12 al Qaeda fighters in southern Yemen. The area was described last year by CIA Director David Petraeus as "the most dangerous regional node in the global jihad."
Yemenis the ancestral homeland of former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a covert US special forces raid in Pakistan in May 2011. Its neighboring countries and the US fear the expansion of al Qaeda, which took advantage of the uprising last year to gain control of vast areas of land in the south and east near oil shipping routes through the Red Sea.
sb/slk (AFP, Reuters)