Al Qaeda commander among 4 killed in Yemen drone strike

An Al-Qaeda provincial commander was among four militants killed in an apparent US drone strike on the jihadist-held Yemeni city of Mukalla, an official said on Tuesday.

The Monday strike outside the presidential palace in the southeastern port city, capital of Hadramawt province, killed Maamoun Hatem, who heads Al-Qaeda's forces in the central province of Ibb, the official said.

Among those killed with him was Mohammed Saleh al-Ghorabi, an Al-Qaeda operative who is wanted for masterminding a series of armed assaults on banks across Hadramawt, the official added, requesting anonymity.

Al-Qaeda has exploited months of fighting in Yemen between Iran-backed rebels and the beleaguered Saudi-backed government to consolidate its grip on Hadramawt.

Washington has waged a longstanding drone war against Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch, which it regards as the most dangerous.

It is the only government that operates the unmanned aircraft over the impoverished country.

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Al-Qaedadrone strikeYemen airstrikes