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Intensified air strikes, launched by U.S. fighter jets and drones, targeted several hideouts of suspected al-Qaeda gunmen, in three Yemeni provinces on Friday.

According to local residents in Yemen's south-eastern province of Shabwa, a series of of U.S. air strikes were launched on suspected al-Qaeda positions, in Wadi Yashbum area, and coincided with anti-terror ground raids.

Official Yemeni sources said, U.S. gunships landed special American troops, who conducted raids and engaged in battles with gunmen, in both Shabwa and al-Bayda provinces, south-eastern and central Yemen, respectively.

More than 11 were killed in fire exchange between U.S. forces and al-Qaeda gunmen, in the Saeed district of Shabwa province.

Witnesses confirmed that U.S. war planes and drones targeted populated areas in Shabwa, resulting in damage to some houses.

In the central province of al-Bayda, U.S. air strikes bombed a number of positions used by suspected al-Qaeda gunmen, early on Friday morning.

Details about the casualty figures caused by the aerial and naval bombardment are not immediately available.

Friday's U.S. air strikes and ground anti-Qaeda operations came, hours after Pentagon's spokesman, Navy Captain Jeff Davis said in a statement, "More than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure, in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, al-Bayda and Shabwa."

The spokesman said, the strikes were conducted in partnership with the government of Yemen, and were coordinated with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Shabwa and the central province of al-Bayda, where dozens of al-Qaeda members are believed to be based, have been the focus of American-led air strikes.


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