A US Predator drone firing a missile (file photo)
Source: Press TV
At least 30 people identified as al-Qaeda suspects by the Yemeni regime have been killed in the latest US airstrikes and clashes with Yemeni soldiers in the southern province of Abyan, Press TV reports.
The Yemeni military says 30 “al-Qaeda suspects” were killed in the US airstrikes and clashes with Yemeni soldiers on Wednesday and Thursday, but observers say most of the dead were civilians, the Press TV correspondent in Sana'a reported on Friday.
The Yemeni military claims that the airstrikes helped rescue a Yemeni military unit that had been besieged by al-Qaeda militants in Abyan province for several weeks.
Yemeni officials deny that the US is carrying out operations in the war against al-Qaeda in the country, but the United States has confirmed that its forces have been conducting anti-terrorism operations in Yemen since June 2010.
Militants linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist organization were believed to have been in control of Zinjibar, the largest city in Abyan province, until recently.
The Yemeni opposition says the government handed the city over to al-Qaeda militants in order to gain military and political support from the West, which would help the regime stay in power.
Hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for regular demonstrations in Yemen's major cities since January, calling for an end to corruption and unemployment and demanding the ouster of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who took office in 1978.