Report: 'Massive' Attack on al-Qaeda Under Way

Yemeni official says 'high-level AQAP' members are being targeted

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 21, 2014 9:46 AM CDT

(Newser) – A drone strike in Yemen killed at least nine suspected al-Qaeda members on Saturday—and that may have just been the tip of the iceberg. A top Yemeni official today tells CNN that a "massive and unprecedented" campaign against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is being carried out. Yemeni commandos are apparently involved, and are targeting "high-level" AQAP members. At least 30 militants have been killed per the official, with a second airstrike yesterday taking out "at least a dozen." And the two-day toll could be even higher: Reuters puts it at 40.

Yesterday's effort—in a part of southern Yemen where some 100 militants "brazenly" met recently—saw US involvement. And while CNN notes there is no confirmation on whether drones were used, Reuters has reports of locals spotting drones in the skies in advance of the hits. The AP reports that another suspected drone strike took out more militants, including a local militant commander, this morning. But another Yemeni officials throws water on the reports: "I'm worried this is an attempt to convince Yemenis that the US and Yemen have turned a corner and are in the process of destroying AQAP."

People gather near a destroyed car that was carrying militants in the Sawmaa area of al-Bayda province, Yemen, Saturday, April 19, 2014.   (AP Photo/Nasir al-Sanna'a)
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