Middle East

Drone strike in Yemen kills suspected al-Qaeda fighters

People inspect the wreckage of a car hit by an air strike in the central Yemeni province of al-Bayda, 19 April 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption At least 13 people were killed in another drone strike on Saturday

A drone attack in south Yemen has killed a number of suspected al-Qaeda fighters, defence officials and local tribal chiefs say.

Sunday's air strike in al-Mahfad, Abyan province, is believed to have killed at least three suspected militants.

It is the second drone attack in Yemen in two days. At least 13 people were killed in a strike on Saturday.

The exact nature of the strike is unclear, but the US has launched drone strikes on militants in Yemen before.

Yemen's defence ministry website said that Sunday's strike on the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) training camp came after information that "terrorist elements were planning to target vital civilian and military installations", Reuters news agency reports.

AQAP is considered to be the most dangerous branch of al-Qaeda in the world. It is based in Yemen.

Yemen is among a handful of countries where the US acknowledges using drones, although it does not comment on the practice.

The drone programme has come under criticism from human rights activists concerned about civilian casualties.

Saturday's attack killed 10 al-Qaeda suspects and three civilians, according to an official toll.

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