U.S. Drone Kills Leading Members of al-Qaeda in Yemen

On Monday, a military source in Yemen said at least four and possibly more al-Qaeda militants had been killed by a U.S. drone attack overnight in Shabwa a southeastern province in Yemen.

The unmanned U.S. aircraft fired missiles at a pickup that had been traveling on a road in the desert in the region of Usylan late on Sunday. The strike killed the four in the pickup, said the Yemeni source who requested anonymity.

Amongst the dead were two high ranking members of al-Qaeda based in Yemen and on the most wanted list of the Yemeni government for being involved in a number of terrorist attacks on facilities in the country, said the unnamed source.

An intelligence officer from the area of Shabwa province said one of the al-Qaeda members killed might have been the master bomb assembler in the Arabian Peninsula Ibrahim al-Asiri. However, the local source who also requested anonymity said that still could not be confirmed.

Ibrahim al-Asiri is a Saudi militant wanted for the making of bombs that were used in a series of high-profile al-Qaeda attacks across the Arabian Peninsula over the past 5 years.

Some residents of the area where the drone strike is said to have hit, reported a great explosion and the sighting of many bodies that had been burned on the ground near a vehicle that was heavily damaged.

One resident said that shortly after the strike, a military helicopter with troops specialized in counter-terrorism landed on the road in Shabwa near the damaged vehicle and took away two of the bodies that had been burned and were lying on the ground.

An official in the government from Shabwa confirmed that the Yemeni Air Force personnel backed by commandos from special operations carried out a nightly mission in Shabwa, but the official denied the reports that personnel from the U.S. were the ones that handled burned bodies.

The Yemeni group from al-Qaeda has yet to comment on the last drone strike.

On Sunday, U.S. drone strikes on a training camp for al-Qaeda in Abyan province in the southern region of Yemen killed as many as 30 and wounded several more.

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