US drone strikes kill 8 suspected Al Qaeda members in Yemen
The number of CIA targeted assassinations using drones in Yemen has risen sharply in 2012.
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Three US drone strikes killed eight people in Yemen over the weekend, AFP reported.
At least four suspected Al Qaeda members were killed in the attacks, witnesses said.
A raid on Saturday night in Marib province killed four people, including local Al Qaeda chief Ismail bin Jamal.
Four members of the powerful Al Haytak clan in Marib were killed in a separate drone strike in the same area. The Al Haytak are part of the Abida tribe, but a source talking to AFP did not identify their connection to Al Qaeda.
Another rocket attack on a car on Saturday missed and the passengers were able to escape unharmed.
The Central Intelligence Agency’s highly controversial assassination campaign in Yemen has seen a steep rise in attacks since 2011. At least 55 civilians have been killed in drone strikes in Yemen, according to the London-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism.
In early January, it was revealed that the Saudi Air Force may have been bombing targets in Yemen as part of the US drone war. Saudi officials denied the report in The Times, which quoted an unnamed US intelligence source.
Sana’a has fought a war against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for years. AQAP seized large areas of the country during the uprising against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011.
A month-long offensive launched in May last year pushed AQAP out of many of the areas they had taken from the government and into the east of the country, where government control is weakest.