SANAA, Yemen – A Yemeni Al Qaeda leader was killed in a drone strike overnight in the southern province of Abin, Yemeni tribal officials said Thursday.
Jalal Baliedy headed Al Qaeda in the province and had led several major attacks, including the beheading of soldiers. Three other people were killed in the strike, the officials said.
Washington considers Al Qaeda's Yemen branch to be the most dangerous offshoot of the network.
The group has been blamed for a number of unsuccessful bomb plots aimed at Americans, including an attempt to bring down a U.S.-bound airliner with explosives hidden in the bomber's underwear and a second plot to send bombs hidden in printer cartridges on planes headed to the U.S.
Six other suspected Al Qaeda members were killed when a drone strike hit their car in Shabwa province, according to tribal officials.
In the southern port city of Aden, a child was killed when a bomb exploded Wednesday near the convoy of the Lahj province security chief, Adel al-Halemi. The chief, three of his colleagues and three civilians were injured in the attack, security officials said.
Al Qaeda militants have capitalized on the chaos of Yemen's civil war, in which Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, and their allied army units are fighting against forces loyal to the internationally recognized government as well as southern separatists and other militants.
The conflict gained international attention when the Houthis took over the capital, Sanaa, in September last year, and escalated in March as a Saudi-led coalition started launching airstrikes against Houthi positions.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.