An overnight airstrike by a U.S. drone killed two militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch, including the nephew of a dead top leader of the terrorist group, a security official said on Thursday.
The U.S. drone strike targeted Khattab Wuhayshi, the nephew of Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the slain founder of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Sawmaa district of al-Bayda Province, the security source said on condition of anonymity.
Khattab was killed along with his bodyguard when a missile hit their motorcycle in al-Bayda on Wednesday night, according to the security source.
Nasir al-Wuhayshi was killed by an airstrike in June 2015 in Yemen’s coastal city of Mukalla in the southeastern part of the country.
The al-Qaida militant group that has lost several of its commanders in recent U.S. airstrikes has yet to make comments about the death of Khattab.
Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional Al-Qaida insurgencies in the Middle East.
The Yemen-based AQAP, also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009, has claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks against Yemen’s army and government institutions.
So far, the AQAP and other IS-linked terrorists have taken advantage of the security vacuum and ongoing civil war to expand their influence and seize more territories in southern Yemen.
Security in Yemen has deteriorated since March 2015, when a war broke out between the Shiite Houthi group, supported by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the government forces backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition.
Since then, more than 10,000 people, many of them civilians, have been killed in ground battles and airstrikes in Yemen. Enditem