A US air strike has killed dozens of fighters from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in a mountainous region of Yemen, the Pentagon says.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the target was an al-Qaeda training camp that was being used by more than 70 fighters. Tuesday’s air strike was the most recent US attack on AQAP in Yemen.
Last year, the US military killed several of the militant group’s leaders with drone strikes. Since late January 2015, AQAP has lost a number of high-profile figures in US drone strikes – including leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi, religious official Harith al-Nadhari, ideologue and spokesman Ibrahim al-Rubaish along with lower ranking figures.
Mr Cook said the attack demonstrates the US military’s “commitment to defeating al-Qaeda and denying it safe haven”. The Pentagon did not disclose the location of the camp. However, Yemeni security officials told the Associated Press that the air strike hit a former military base that had been taken over by al-Qaida militants in the southwest part of the county near AQAP’s stronghold city of Mukalla.
In Yemen, resurgent al-Qaeda militants have seized territory and infrastructure – indirectly assisted by Saudi-led air strikes on the rebel Houthi movement, their Shia Muslim foes.
At least 6,000 people have been killed in Yemen since March 2015, when a coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign to defeat the Houthis and allied army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and restore the government.
The coalition’s member states consider al-Qaeda a terrorist organisation, and the jihadist network’s local affiliates have attacked coalition forces and Yemeni government personnel.