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Monday, April 21, 2014

Yemen: Airstrike targets al Qaeda training camps -- By Ahmed Al-Haj, Associated Press

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — An airstrike targeting suspected al Qaeda training camps in a rugged mountain region in southern Yemen killed a number of fighters Sunday, a high-level government security committee said, without specifying a casualty figure.

The Supreme Security Committee, which includes the defense and interior ministers, as well as the country's intelligence chief, said the attack struck the rugged Mahfad mountains between Abyan and Shabwa provinces. But its statement did not identify who carried out the attack.

The U.S. regularly carries out drone strikes in Yemen against its local al Qaeda branch, which Washington considers the most active in the world.

The official news agency SABA quoted an unnamed official from the security committee who said those killed in the strike included foreigners and suspected leading figures in al Qaeda. It was not possible to independently verify a casualty figure because of the difficulties of getting to the remote area where the strike took place. The committee said the suspected al Qaeda members were plotting to target vital military and civilian installations, without elaborating.

This is the second strike targeting al Qaeda since Saturday, when a suspected U.S. drone strike in al-Bayda province in southern Yemen killed at least nine suspected al Qaeda militants and three civilians. The Supreme Committee said the airstrike was carried by Yemeni authorities.
The conflicting details of Saturday's attack could not be immediately reconciled.

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