Yemen says 55 Qaeda suspects killed in Sunday air raids
Dozens killed as Yemen, US mount air war on Qaeda - AFP

SANAA: A wave of air strikes on Al-Qaeda bases in south Yemen killed 55 militants, including three local chiefs, the interior ministry said Monday.

The raids on Al-Qaeda bases in the rugged mountains of Abyan province on Sunday were among the “most severe” against the jihadist network in Yemen, the ministry said on its website.

On Sunday, tribal sources had put the death toll from the raids near the town of Al-Mahfad at more than 30, while a defense ministry website only said “several” militants had been killed.

The interior ministry said the raids lasted for several hours, adding that “terrorists of Arab and foreign nationalities are among the dead and are in the process of being identified.”

It named the three local Al-Qaeda chiefs killed in the strikes as Mohammed Salem al-Masheebi, Fawaz Hussein al-Mihrak and Saleh Saeed al-Mehrak.

The raids were part of a campaign of air strikes carried out jointly with the United States over the weekend against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the network’s local affiliate.

Apart from the attacks near Al-Mahfad, 13 other Al-Qaeda suspects were reportedly killed in two separate raids.

They came after AQAP chief Nasser al-Wuhayshi pledged in a rare video appearance to fight Western “crusaders” everywhere.

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