Two Al Qaeda militants killed in latest US drone attack on Yemen
Yemeni soldiers search a motorbike at a checkpoint on a street leading to the US embassy in Sanaa on August 4, 2013 (AFP/File)
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At least two suspected Al Qaeda militants were killed in a US drone attack on Yemen's southern Shabwa province, the latest in Washington's response to the threat of attacks on its embassies across the Middle East.
At least 37 people have been killed over the last two weeks in the US' drone campaign that is targeting insurgents affiliated to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), widely acknowledged as the most active and dangerous branch of the Sunni militant group, according to Reuters.
"A car was completely obliterated and the two men inside it were killed," a local Yemeni official told Reuters of the attack that took place late Monday. He gave no further details.
Drone attacks implemented by Washington have been amped up in the last two weeks after US intelligence intercepted "chatter" between AQAP head Nasser Al Wuhayshi and Al Qaeda's leader, Ayman Al Zawahri, among other Al Qaeda officials, that prompted the temporary closure of 19 US embassies and diplomatic missions across the region earlier this month.
Washington has previously acknowledged its use of drones in Yemen, but does not publicly comment on their use and ethics. It was in Yemen that a US drone killed the first US citizen, AQAP high-ranking official Anwar Al Awlaki.
Yemen, where AQAP has large pockets of supporters, has a major impact on the security of the region.
A security threat by Yemeni Al Qaeda militants was intercepted last week by Yemeni security. The plot allegedly sought to take control of two major cities and ports in Yemen, seize two large oil export stations and kidnap foreign nations living in the country.