US drone strike kills local Qaeda leader in South Yemen
April 26 2016 06:47 PM
Yemen
Forces loyal to the Saudi-backed Yemeni president search for improvised explosive devices (IED) as they patrol a road in the southern city of Lahj.

Reuters/Aden

A suspected US drone strike killed a local leader in Al Qaeda and five of his aides in southern Yemen on Tuesday, residents said, as Yemeni and Emirati troops pressed their offensive against the militant group.

Abu Sameh al-Zinjibari and other men died when a missile struck their moving car in Amoudiya, a village near the Qaeda-controlled towns of Jaar and Zinjibar.

Government and Emirati forces based in the port city of Aden, about 40km away, have been mounting a ground push against towns held by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) along a vast stretch of Yemen's coast.

AQAP, which has planned several foiled bombing attempts on Western-bound airliners and claimed credit for the 2015 attack at the Charlie Hebdo magazine's offices in Paris, is considered the most dangerous branch of the global militant group.

It is unclear whether the ground fighting is being coordinated with the US, which has for years launched drone strikes against Al Qaeda throughout the country.

US officials said earlier this month they were considering a request from the United Arab Emirates request for air power, intelligence and logistics support.

Yemen's third largest port, Mukalla was the militants' de facto capital for over a year where they grew rich by shaking down local businesses and charging port taxes. The coalition advance forced them to quit the city largely without a fight on Sunday.

Kuwait emir urges Yemen negotiators to achieve peace

The Kuwaiti emir met with Yemen's peace negotiators on Tuesday and urged them to forge ahead with a peace agreement to end 13 months of war in the impoverished Arab nation.

A source close to the talks in Kuwait City meanwhile said the two sides finally approved a general framework for the talks and were set to start looking into the central issues.

State-run KUNA news agency said Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah met with the rebel and government delegations separately and also received UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, but provided no details.

"We heard from the emir of Kuwait clear assurances with regards to supporting the political process to reach a settlement," said Mohammed Abdulsalam, head of the Houthi delegation.

The emir warned that war can only lead to more devastation and bloodshed, Abdulsalam wrote on Facebook.

A source close to the government delegation said Sheikh Sabah "urged the two sides to reach a political settlement."

Following the meeting with the emir, a new session of talks was held, a UN spokesman told AFP.

 



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