US drones killed an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula commander and two fighters in an airstrike near the southern port city of Aden today.
The remotely piloted Predators or the more heavily armed Reapers fired a pair of missiles at a pickup truck traveling in the desert in the Beer Hameed area outside of Aden, Yemeni military officials told Xinhua. The officials said that a senior AQAP commander and two fighters were killed, but did not disclose the name of the slain commander.
A US intelligence official contacted by The Long War Journal confirmed the strike, but would not comment on the nature of the target; nor would the official say if the attack was carried out by the CIA or the US military.
Today’s strike in Aden is the first in the province since the US started the campaign in 2009. AQAP is known to have a presence in Aden. Just a week ago in Aden, a suicide bomber killed Brigadier General Salem Ali al Quton, the commander of Yemen’s southern military district, who directed the offensive that cleared the terror group from the major cities and towns in Abyan and Shabwa provinces. Quton was killed when a suicide bomber detonated outside of the general’s home. AQAP claimed credit for the attack and accused the US of directing the war against the terror group in Yemen.