Yemeni officials: US make surprise raid, killing 3

The fighting lasted around 45 minutes and the U.S. troops killed or wounded some two dozen men

This image made from video made available on Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015, by Al-Mayadeen, government-controlled Syrian Television, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting shows, drone footage allegedly showing Syrian army airstrikes targeting Zahran Allouch, the head of the Army of Islam group near Damascus, Syria. Militant groups in Syria on Saturday mourned the death of a powerful rebel commander who was killed in an airstrike near Damascus — a high profile assassination that may shift the balance of power in rebel-held suburbs of the Syrian capital. Allouch, was killed Friday, Dec. 25 in an airstrike that targeted the group's headquarters during a meeting. (Al-Mayadeen via AP video)

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — U.S. forces launched a raid in central Yemen on Sunday, security and tribal officials said, landing troops off of aircraft and killing three alleged senior al-Qaida leaders in a battle that was the third such U.S. ground engagement against the extremist group in Yemen.

The surprise dawn attack in Bayda province killed Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab, and Seif al-Nims, they said. The al-Dhahab family is considered an ally of al-Qaida, which security forces say is concentrated in Bayda province. A third family member, Tarek al-Dhahab, was killed in a previous U.S. drone strike years ago. It was not immediately clear whether the family members were actual members of al-Qaida.

The fighting lasted around 45 minutes and the U.S. troops killed or wounded some two dozen men, including some Saudis present at the site, according to the Yemeni officials — who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists. U.S. military officials contacted by The Associated Press had no immediate comment but said they were looking into the report.

Just over a week ago, suspected U.S. drone strikes killed three other alleged al-Qaida operatives in Bayda province in what was the first-such killings reported in the country since Donald Trump assumed the U.S. presidency.

The tribal officials said the Americans were looking for al-Qaida leader Qassim al-Rimi, adding that they captured and departed with at least two unidentified individuals.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, long seen by Washington as among the most dangerous branches of the global terror network, has exploited the chaos of Yemen’s civil war, seizing territory in the south and east.

The war began in 2014, when Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies swept down from the north and captured the capital, Sanaa. A Saudi-led military coalition has been helping government forces battle the rebels for nearly two years.

 

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