(MENAFN - Arab News) Aden: an 'unprecedented" us and yemeni aerial campaign on the weekend in yemen has killed more than 40 al-qaeda militants in a bid to thwart attacks by the network's local affiliate officials said.
al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula (aqap) has been linked to a number of failed terror plots against the united states and its leader recently appeared in a rare video in which he vowed to attack western 'crusaders" wherever they are.
a top yemeni official told afp the 'unprecedented" weekend operations came after 'information that al-qaeda was plotting attacks on vital installations military and security as well as foreign interests in yemen."
the official who requested anonymity spoke after three militants one of whom may have been a senior commander were killed in a drone strike in southern yemen on monday the latest in an accelerated series of raids against aqap.
the united states is the only country operating drones over yemen but us officials rarely acknowledge the covert drone program.
a yemeni official said that shortly after midnight (2100 gmt sunday) a drone fired a missile at an off-road vehicle carrying three men in the southern shabwa province seen as an aqap stronghold.
witnesses confirmed that the vehicle had been completely destroyed and said they saw the charred remains of three individuals.
shortly after commandos in an unmarked helicopter arrived to retrieve the bodies they said.
'the operation seems to indicate that one of the dead could be an important leader of al-qaeda" one witness told afp.
us drones on sunday killed more than 30 militants when they fired 'several missiles" into an aqap training camp in the rugged wadi ghadina region in the southern province of abyan a tribal chief said.
the top official said yemeni mig-29 jet fighters took part in the raids.
the interior ministry said 10 people suspected of wanting to join al-qaeda had been arrested at a security roadblock in shabwa.
on saturday a drone strike in the central province of baida killed 10 al-qaeda suspects and three civilians official saba news agency reported. it did not say who carried out the attack.
meanwhile two gunmen on a motorbike shot dead an intelligence officer monday and wounded another in sanaa in an attack that 'bore the hallmarks of al-qaeda" an official said.