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ADEN, Yemen, An air strike, launched by a U.S. drone, killed a senior leader of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda branch, in the central province of al-Bayda, on Friday, a security official said.

"A leading local commander of the al-Qaeda group, named Jamal Badawi, was killed by the U.S. drone strike, carried out in al-Bayda Province," the security source said.

The air strike precisely targeted a vehicle carrying Badawi, who was travelling alone, near the al-Qaeda-held area in al-Bayda, the source said.

The air strike came amid effective cooperation between the Yemeni intelligence agencies and the anti-terror U.S. officials, the source added.

Badawi was involved in orchestrating the armed attack on the U.S. destroyer, USS Cole, in Oct, 2000, while it was being refuelled at Yemen's Aden harbour, killing 17 U.S. sailors.

The Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which carries out sporadic attacks against Yemeni soldiers, in different areas of the country, revealed no statement to confirm or deny the U.S. airs trike.

The AQAP network, mostly operating in the eastern and southern provinces, has been responsible for many high-profile attacks against security forces in Yemen.

The AQAP, seen by the United States as the network's most dangerous branch, has exploited years of deadly conflict between Yemen's government and Houthi rebels, to expand its presence, especially in the south-eastern provinces.


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