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article imageFifth night of suspected US raids on Yemen: security source

By AFP     Mar 6, 2017 in World

Yemen was hit by a fifth consecutive night of suspected US air strikes targeting Al-Qaeda members in the impoverished nation, a Yemeni security source said on Monday.

The source said the early dawn raid hit the town of Al-Nasl in the southern Abyan province, which has been the target of air strikes as well as an Al-Qaeda attack on the army in recent days.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in Monday's raid.

Washington on Thursday launched a series of air and drone raids on Yemen, focused on the southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa as well as Baida, slightly to the north.

Gunmen suspected of belonging to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) meanwhile launched two separate attacks on Yemeni troops in recent days, killing at least 10 soldiers in Abyan and the southern Hadramawt province.

AQAP on Sunday evacuated suspected members from more than one area hit by the raids, including one town where top AQAP commander Abdulelah al-Dhahab had reportedly been in hiding.

Two years of fighting in Yemen have allowed AQAP, which the US regards as the extremists' most dangerous branch, to consolidate its grip on territory in southern and eastern Yemen.

The Pentagon has confirmed at least 30 strikes against AQAP since Thursday in coordination with the Yemeni government. Washington, which began drone strikes on Yemen after the attacks of September 11, 2001, rarely gives reports on the raids.

Yemen's war pits troops loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against Huthi rebels allied with forces supporting former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in the fighting on behalf of Hadi, launching air strikes against the Iran-backed Huthis.

The United Nations estimates more than 7,500 people have been killed in the two years since and another 40,000 wounded.

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