New US drone strike kills 3 Qaeda suspects in Yemen: tribes

AFP , Thursday 3 Jan 2013

In the town of Rada in Yemen, a new US drone strike killed three Al-Qaeda suspects, including Mukbel Abbad who was considered a "leading" figure in Al-Qaeda

A new US drone strike on Thursday killed three Al-Qaeda suspects in the town of Rada in Yemen's central Al-Bayda province, the site of similar recent attacks, tribal sources there said.

Mukbel Abbad, brother-in-law of Tareq al-Dahab who led the Al-Qaeda fighters in a brief January 2012 raid on Rada, was killed along with two other suspects, the sources said.

Abbad was a "leading" Al-Qaeda figure, one source said.

On Saturday, a similar drone strike killed three suspected militants in the same region, in what was the fourth attack in one week.

Thursday's attack brings to 14 the number of Al-Qaeda suspects killed in Yemen since December 24, when attacks by the unmanned planes on targets in Al-Bayda and the eastern Hadramawt province were stepped up.

Dahab, who led the Al-Qaeda fighters in the January raid on the town, was shot dead in February 2012 by his half-brother, who a tribal chief said was hired by Yemeni authorities.

Dahab's other brother-in-law was US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi, who was killed in a suspected US drone strike in September.

US drones back Yemeni forces combating militants of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The group's Yemen branch is considered by Washington to be the most active and deadliest franchise of the global jihadist network.

US drone attacks in Yemen nearly tripled in 2012 compared to 2011, with 53 recorded against 18, according to the Washington-based think tank New America Foundation.

AQAP took advantage of the weakness of Yemen's central government during an uprising in 2011 against now ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, seizing large swathes of territory across the south.

But after a month-long offensive launched in May last year by Yemeni troops, most militants fled to the more lawless desert regions of the east.

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