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The US military conducted a pair of air strikes against Al-Qaeda operatives in central Yemen last month, officials said Tuesday.

The first strike in the war-torn country was on July 8 and killed one Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) "operative," the US military's Central Command (Centcom) said in a statement.

A second strike on July 16 killed six AQAP operatives and wounded one.

"Al-Qaeda's presence has a destabilizing effect on Yemen; it is using the unrest in Yemen to provide a haven from which to plan future attacks against our allies as well as the US and its interests," Centcom said.

Since Yemen's collapse last year, AQAP has exploited the chaos of fighting between pro-government forces and Iran-backed Houthi rebels to expand its control in southern Yemen, including seizing of the port city of Mukalla.

In May, the Pentagon acknowledged it had deployed some US troops to a fixed location inside Yemen to help Emirati forces there with "intelligence support."


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