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Pentagon: US forces kill seven al-Qaeda militants in Yemen raid

  • Published at 03:26 pm May 23rd, 2017
  • Last updated at 04:06 pm May 23rd, 2017
Pentagon: US forces kill seven al-Qaeda militants in Yemen raid
The raid took place in Marib province in the early hours of Tuesday local time and was conducted with the support of Yemeni authorities. "During this operation, US forces killed seven Aqap (al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) militants through a combination of small arms fire and precision airstrikes," Centcom, the US military command for the Middle East, said in a statement. "Raids such as this provide insight into Aqap's disposition, capabilities and intentions, which will allow us to continue to pursue, disrupt, and degrade Aqap." Yemeni tribal sources said the operation targeted a residential block held by al-Qaeda fighters in the village of Al-Hathla, in a mountainous district in the southeast of Marib province. The dead were all members of the same Al-Aadhal tribe, the sources said. Since President Donald Trump took office in January, the United States has increased attacks against Aqap, which has taken advantage of more than two years of intensifying conflict in Yemen to increase its presence. That has included an ill-fated raid against Aqap in January that left multiple civilians and a US Navy SEAL dead. That raid was the first authorised by Trump, who drew criticism after he blamed "the generals" for having "lost" Navy SEAL Ryan Owens. Washington regards Aqap to be the most dangerous branch of the extremist group. Since 2015, Yemen has been locked in a devastating civil war between Iran-supported Huthi rebels and government forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition. America has supported the Saudi-led coalition through weapons sales, air-to-air refueling and some intelligence sharing. The conflict has killed more than 8,000 people and wounded around 40,000, according to the World Health Organisation. Seven ceasefires alongside UN-brokered peace efforts have so far failed to stop the fighting.