FILE – In this Nov. 8, 2011 file photo, a Predator B unmanned aircraft taxis at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas. Two U.S. drone strikes killed a total of nine suspected al-Qaida militants Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, a Yemeni military official said, the sixth and seventh such attacks in less than two weeks as the Arab nation is on high alert against terrorism. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The U.S. has sharply escalated its drone war in Yemen, with military officials in the Arab country reporting 34 suspected al-Qaida militants killed in less than two weeks, including three strikes on Thursday alone in which a dozen died.
The action against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemen branch is known, comes amid a global terror alert issued by Washington. One Mideast official says the uptick is due to its leaders leaving themselves more vulnerable by moving from their normal hideouts toward areas where they could carry out attacks.
The U.S. and Britain evacuated diplomatic staff from the capital of Sanaa this week after learning of a threatened attack that prompted Washington to close temporarily 19 diplomatic posts in the Middle East and Africa.
Thursday’s first reported drone attack hit a car carrying suspected militants in the district of Wadi Ubaidah, about 175 kilometers (109 miles) east of Sanaa, and killed six, a security official said.
Badly burned bodies lay beside their vehicle, according to the official. Five of the dead were Yemenis, while the sixth was believed to be of another Arab nationality, he said.
The second drone attack killed three alleged militants in the al-Ayoon area of Hadramawt province in the south, the official said. The third, also in Hadramawt province, killed three more suspected militants in the al-Qutn area, he added.
All the airstrikes targeted cars, added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
The drone strikes have become a near-daily routine since they Login to read more