US drones kill AQAP leader in southern Yemen
Yemeni officials claimed that a recent US drone strike killed a senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader. From The Yemeni Post:
Three suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed in a US drone strike in the eastern province of al-Baitha [Baydah], three security officials in the province said.
Among the killed was Mohammed al-Sabri, considered one of the leading militants in the province.
The attack came as they were aboard their vehicle.
A Defense Ministry official confirmed the drone strike and said it was the third air strike in two days in both Abyan and al-Baitha provinces.
The US is known to have conducted one drone strike in Yemen yesterday, which took place in Baydah province. See LWJ report, US drones kill 21 AQAP fighters in separate strikes in southern Yemen, for more information.
We noted back in mid-March that the US "appears to be directly intervening in Yemen's civil war with AQAP" [see Threat Matrix report, 'Missiles from the sea' kill 16 AQAP fighters in Zinjibar]. There have been at least five US drone strikes since that report, and the pattern of attacks - strikes on AQAP's military as opposed to its top-tier leadership cadre - does not appear to have changed.