A commander of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda branch was killed Thursday in a U.S. drone strike in the country's central province of al-Baydha, a security source said.

The U.S. drone attack killed Abdullah Sanaani and his bodyguard, who were travelling in a vehicle in al-Sawmah, a town in al-Baydha province, the source said.

Sanaani participated in several terror attacks in Yemen, the official said.

Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional al-Qaeda insurgencies in the Middle East.

The AQAP, also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009. It has claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks on Yemen's army and government institutions.

U.S. drones have been active over skies of Yemeni cities since years ago, conducting hundreds of strikes that killed scores of al-Qaeda leaders and many other extremists.

There have been accusations that many innocent civilians were also killed in the U.S. drone attacks.

Yemen has recently seen a rise in al-Qaida activities in the eastern and southern provinces, due to a chronic security vacuum resulting from the 19-month civil war between the exiled government and Houthi rebels who seized much of the country's north, including the capital Sanaa, in 2014.

An Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in March 2015 to help restore the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who was forced into exile.

According to the United Nations, airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition and fighting on the ground have left more than 6,400 people dead and many more displaced, throwing the country into a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

Meanwhile, the UN has condemned the multiple airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition on Sept 21 in the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah, Yemen, which killed and injured dozens of people, including children and women.

The secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said, in a statement issued here by his spokesman, "once again reminds all parties to the conflict that they must fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the fundamental rules of distinction, proportionality and precaution."

"He reiterates his call for urgent measures to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure," the statement said.

At least 25 people have been killed and 70 others wounded in the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in the Yemeni port city, reports said. The raid took place late on Wednesday reportedly against a presidential palace used by the Houthi rebel movement, but missiles also hit neighboring houses.

"The Secretary-General expresses his sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured," the statement said.

"The secretary-general also urges all parties to recommit to the terms and conditions of the 10 April cessation of hostilities," the statement said.

"Stressing that a negotiated political settlement that addresses the legitimate concerns of all parties remains the only viable solution to the conflict, he calls for a new round of peace negotiations facilitated by his Special Envoy for Yemen," the statement added.

The war has since killed more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, injured about 35,000 others and displaced over 3 million, according to statistics from humanitarian agencies.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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