DUBAI (Reuters) - Two Yemeni boys were killed in a drone strike while walking on a road in central Yemen used by al Qaeda militants who have been subject to repeated strikes by U.S. forces in recent days, residents said on Tuesday.
They named the boys as Ahmed and Mohammed al-Khobze, two brothers both under 15, and said they were killed on Monday on a road used by militants in Yakla, an area in al-Bayda province where al Qaeda is known to operate.
The area was the scene of a U.S. commando raid in January against al Qaeda in which one serviceman and about 30 Yemenis, including women and children, were killed.
Three suspected al Qaeda militants were killed on Monday in a separate strike in Qifa in the same province, local sources said.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The United States has repeatedly attacked Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni arm of the militant group, in a series of strikes since last week from aircraft and unmanned drones. It has killed several suspected militants in what U.S officials says is a campaign to degrade the group’s ability to coordinate militant attacks abroad.
AQAP has exploited nearly two years of civil war in Yemen to recruit followers and cement its dominance in central and southern parts of the Arab country.
The Pentagon said on Monday that a March 2 strike against AQAP killed Yasir al Silmi, also know as Mohammed Tahar, a former detainee from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Reporting By Dubai Newsroom; writing by Aziz El Yakoubi, editing by Sami Aboudi and Mark Trevelyan