US drones struck again in Marib province in central Yemen, killing three al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operatives. The strike is the second in the central province in three days.
The CIA-operated, remotely piloted Predators or the more deadly Reapers launched two missiles today at a car as it traveled outside the city of Marib in the province of the same name, according to The Associated Press. Three AQAP members, identified as Ali Saleh Toaiman, Qassim Nasser Toaiman, and Ahmed al Ziadi, a local commander in the province, were killed in the attack, and two more were wounded.
The three AQAP members had previously been captured after the Yemeni military took control of Abyan province from AQAP, which seized the province in May 2011, but were released as part of an amnesty in April 2012, according to AP.
Today’s strike is the third this year, and the second in Marib province in three days. On Jan. 19, US drones fired at a vehicle in the Abieda Valley in Marib, killing eight people, including two Saudi AQAP fighters.
The US conducted five drone strikes in Yemen between Dec. 24, 2012 and Jan. 3, 2013. Prior to the Dec. 24 attack, the last recorded attack by the US in Yemen took place on Nov. 7, 2012.
The US launched 41 drone strikes against AQAP and its political front, Ansar al Sharia, in Yemen in 2012. Although five senior AQAP operatives were killed in strikes in Yemen in 2012, the group’s top leadership cadre remains intact. The previous year, the US launched 10 drone and air strikes against the al Qaeda affiliate.
[For more information on the US airstrikes in Yemen, see LWJ report, Charting the data for US air strikes in Yemen, 2002 – 2013.]