drone missile
Illustrative image. Image Credit: Shutterstock

DUBAI: Three alleged Al Qaida militants were killed in a suspected US drone strike in northeastern Yemen on Monday, local government officials said.

The attack was carried out on a car in Marib province, the scene of heavy fighting in 2021 in Yemen’s long-running civil war, the officials said.

“Three Al Qaida members were killed in a strike by a drone that is believed to be American,” a government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“The three were in a car in Wadi Obeida when they were targeted by the suspected US strike that killed them immediately.”

A second Marib government official confirmed the strike on Al Qaida militants and the death toll. There was no immediate comment from Washington.

The United States considers Al Qaida’s Yemen branch - Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) - among the most dangerous branches of the global terror network.

AQAP, and other militants loyal to the Daesh (Islamic State) group, have thrived in the chaos of Yemen’s civil war, which pits the Saudi-backed government against Iran-allied Houthi rebels.

AQAP has carried out operations against both the Houthis and government forces as well as sporadic attacks abroad.

Its leaders have been targeted by a US drone war for more than two decades, although the number of strikes has dropped off in recent years.

Yemen has been wracked by conflict since 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition intervened to back the government after the Houthis seized control of the capital Sanaa.

The conflict has since killed tens of thousands of people and triggered what the United Nations terms the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions of people displaced.