14 alleged al-Qaida militants in Yemen killed by US drone strike

A suspected US drone strike in Yemen killed 14 alleged al-Qaida militants today in one of the group’s former strongholds in a central province, a military official said.

The strike, the sixth by a US drone over the past 10 days came as Yemen remained on high alert following threats of a terror attack targeting Western and Yemeni government interests.

So far, about 29 suspected militants have been killed by unmanned US aircraft in an apparent stepped-up drone war in Yemen.

While the United States acknowledges its drone program in Yemen, it does not confirm individual strikes or release information on how many have been carried out.

The Yemeni official said Thursday’s attack took place in the province of Marib, targeting a car carrying the suspected militants in the district of Wadi Ubaidah, some 175 kilometres east of the capital, Sanaa.

Bodies of the suspected militants were seen lying charred alongside their vehicle, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.

Five of the killed militants were Yemenis while the sixth was believed to be of an Arab nationality, he said.

The US and British embassies have evacuated embassy staff over a threatened attack that prompted Washington to temporarily close 19 diplomatic posts in the Middle East and Africa.

For their part, Yemeni authorities on Wednesday said they uncovered an al-Qaida plot to target foreign embassies and international shipping lanes in the Red Sea.

A US intelligence official and a Mideast diplomat have told that the closures were triggered by the interception of a secret message between al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri and Nasser al-Wahishi, the leader of the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, about plans for a major attack.

Yemeni troops have implemented drastic security measures across Sanaa, with multiple checkpoints set up and tanks and other military vehicles guarding vital institutions.

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