Two al Qaeda suspects killed in Yemen drone strike: official

ADEN, Yemen Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:13pm IST

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ADEN, Yemen (Reuters) - Two suspected al Qaeda-linked insurgents were killed in a drone strike in Yemen's eastern region of Hadramout on Friday, a local security official said.

The two men were riding a motorcycle west of the coastal town of al-Sheher when the pilotless aircraft fired at them, the official told Reuters, declining to be named. He gave no further details of the identity of those killed.

On Monday, at least five people were killed in two drone strikes in Yemen, one of them also in Hadramout, the first such attacks in several weeks.

The United States has escalated its use of drones against al Qaeda in Yemen. The Islamist group exploited mass anti-government unrest last year to seize swathes of territory in the south before being driven out by a military offensive in June.

Improving stability and security in Yemen is a priority for the United States and its Gulf Arab allies because of its strategic position next to the world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and shipping lanes.

Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, one of the group's most active wings, has mounted operations in Saudi Arabia and attempted attacks against the United States, which has stepped up strikes by drones. (Reporting by Mohamed Mokhashaf, Writing by Raissa Kasolowsky; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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