Last updated: 11 March, 2012

US air raids strike Qaeda arms caches in Yemen

US drones bombed suspected Al-Qaeda arms caches in a hilly region in Yemen’s restive southern province of Abyan on Sunday, witnesses told AFP.

Six missiles targeted the suspected weapons hideouts in Jabal Khanfar, a hill overlooking the Abyan town of Jaar, which is controlled by Al-Qaeda militants, the witnesses said.

“Two American drones fired four missiles at Jabal Khanfar while two others were fired from the sea” in the Gulf of Aden, a local official told AFP. He did not provide further details.

Witnesses reported seeing columns of smoke billowing into the sky from the targeted locations and said that government buildings, now controlled by Al-Qaeda fighters, had been damaged. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The air strikes were carried out in the early evening, the witnesses said.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) controls large swathes of southern Yemen, and has strengthened its position there since an anti-government uprising last year that ousted veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Air strikes by Yemeni and US planes on Friday and Saturday killed at least 33 suspected Al-Qaeda militants in Abyan and Al-Bayda province, south of the capital, in the first such action since a massive attack on the army, residents and local officials said.