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Drone strikes kill 4 Qaeda suspects in Yemen

03 March 2017

A US official told ABC News that the airstrikes were planned prior to that SEAL mission.

The U.S government considers AQAP to be the most unsafe al-Qaeda branch because of its emphasis and reputation for plotting attacks on overseas targets.

The Pentagon said the strikes were done in partnership with Yemen's government.

The US is working to locate and monitor hundreds of people, or "contacts", found as part of the intelligence retrieved during the raid last month in Yemen targeting an al Qaeda affiliate, several US officials told CNN.

Yemeni security and media officials say us airstrikes have targeted alleged al-Qaida positions in central Yemen.

However, the SEAL's father, William Owens, has demanded a broader investigation into what he told the Miami Herald was a "stupid" mission.

This is not the first air raid by United States warplanes in Yemen this year.

The group has recently exploited the chaos of Yemen's civil war, which pits Shiite Houthi rebels and allied army units against a Saudi-led coalition battling to restore the internationally recognized government.

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Trump, the military's commander-in-chief, has sought to pass blame for the death to "the generals" and stressed the raid yielded large amounts of vital intelligence.

And a fourth targeted an Al-Qaeda position east of Shaqra in the southern province of Abyan, a security source said.

Another five suspected al Qaeda fighters died when a missile fired by a drone struck a vehicle carrying weapons while travelling on a road between al-Wadie district and the area of Moujan, in Abyan province, some 40 km (25 miles) away, according to a local official.

A USA defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the Pentagon is not required to announce every strike conducted in Yemen. In 2015, the group's leader was killed in a drone strike in the southern city of Mukalla, which had fallen into the hands of al-Qaida for a year. Residents near the scene in the Saeid region in Shabwa said the airstrike destroyed a house used by al-Qaida operatives.

There were no immediate details available on damages or casualties caused by the strikes.

As many as 16 civilians - eight women and eight children - were also killed in the strike, a provincial official said, drawing condemnation from human rights groups.

"This was a mission that was started before I got here", Trump said.