WASHINGTON, US forces have conducted more than 120 air strikes against jihadists in Yemen this year, officials announced Wednesday, under a long-running campaign that has intensified since President Donald Trump took office.

Most of the strikes have been against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, which the United States says is bent on planning attacks in America.

The Pentagon has also been attacking a local branch of the Daesh group, which it says has doubled in size, over the last year.

In addition to the air strikes, likely mostly conducted by drone, US forces have also conducted a series of ground raids.

“These operations have helped to illuminate terrorist networks, making intelligence gathering, subsequent targeting and follow-on operations increasingly productive and effective,” Lieutenant Colonel Earl Brown, a spokesman for the military’s Central Command, said in a statement.

On Nov 20, US strikes in the al-Baida governorate, in central Yemen, killed Mujahid al-Adani, an AQAP senior leader.

Washington considers AQAP to be the radical group’s most dangerous branch.

For more than two years, Yemen has been locked in a devastating civil war between the Saudi-backed government and Shiite rebels, who control the capital. AQAP has taken advantage of the war to expand its presence in several areas to the south and east.

Soon after coming into office in Jan, Trump gave his military commanders far greater leeway to conduct raids and strikes in Yemen.

More than 8,700 people have been killed in the conflict, since a Saudi-led military coalition intervened on the government’s side, in Mar, 2015.



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