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US forces kill 7 Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen raid: Pentagon

Trump heads for Bethlehem to see Palestinian leader

US forces have carried out a ground raid on an Al-Qaeda compound in Yemen, killing seven militants, the Pentagon said late Monday.

The raid took place in Marib Governorate in the early hours of Tuesday local time and was conducted with the support of Yemeni authorities.

“During this operation, US forces killed seven AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) militants through a combination of small arms fire and precision airstrikes,” Centcom, the US military command in the Middle East, said in a statement.

“Raids such as this provide insight into AQAP’s disposition, capabilities and intentions, which will allow us to continue to pursue, disrupt, and degrade AQAP.”

The United States has increased attacks against AQAP — which has taken advantage of the chaos in the impoverished country — since President Donald Trump took office in January.

That has included an ill-fated raid against AQAP in January that left multiple civilians and a US Navy SEAL dead.

That raid was the first authorized by Trump, who drew criticism after he blamed “the generals” for having “lost” Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.

Washington regards AQAP to be the most dangerous branch of the extremist group.

Yemen is also locked in a deadly civil war that broke out in 2015 between Iran-supported Huthi rebels and government forces backed by an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

America has supported the Saudi-led coalition through weapons sales, air-to-air refueling of jets and some intelligence sharing.

The conflict has killed more than 8,000 people and wounded around 40,000, according to the UN’s World Health Organization.

Seven ceasefires alongside UN-brokered peace efforts have so far failed to stop the fighting.

–AFP