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ADEN, Yemen- A U.S. drone strike, targeting a car, killed three members of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda branch, including a leader, in the central province of al-Bayda, Saturday, a military official, said.

The military source said that, the unmanned U.S. aircraft fired its missiles on a small pick-up truck of al-Qaeda, in al-Bayda province, leaving three terrorists killed, including a local leader of the group.

Residents near the scene confirmed that "the commander's body, along with two of his companions, were left incinerated inside the car."

Identities of the killed al-Qaeda operatives were still unknown, but more details may be revealed in the next few hours, according to local sources.

The U.S. military has carried out several air strikes against AQAP fighters in different provinces of the war-torn Arab country since U.S President, Donald Trump, approved expanded military operations against the group. That included intensified overnight air strikes and ground military raids against the al-Qaeda hideouts, in the mountainous areas of al-Bayda and south-eastern province of Shabwa.

Yemen's government, allied with a Saudi-led Arab military coalition, has for years been battling Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels, for control of the impoverished country.

UN statistics showed that more than 8,000 people have been killed in Yemen's conflict, most of them civilians, since the Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict in 2015.


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