US drone strikes al-Qaida vehicle in Yemen, kills 3

Sana'a, June 17: At least three militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch were killed after an unmanned US plane fired a missile at a running vehicle in Shabwa province, a military official said.

"The airstrike on Friday took place in Niqabah area of Shabwa province and one vehicle carrying al-Qaida members was completely destroyed," the local military official said on condition of anonymity.

The military source said that the strike was launched on specific intelligence inputs provided by the Yemeni anti-terror unit and resulted in killing three terrorists, Xinhua news agency reported.

He added that among those killed was the brother of Saad Bin Atef, the leader of al-Qaida terrorist group in Shabwa province.

The mountainous areas in Shabwa and Abyan provinces have been the scene of US drone attacks and clashes between Yemeni security forces and militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch since the emergence of the group in the country eight years ago. The militant group has yet to make comments about the latest US airstrikes that targeted its fighters in Shabwa province.

Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional Al-Qaida insurgencies in the Middle East.

The Yemen-based Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), known locally as "Ansar al-Sharia" and emerged in January 2009, has claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks against Yemen's army and governmental institutions.