Yemen: 'Militants' die in fresh drone strikes

At least 14 suspected al-Qaeda
militants have been killed in Yemen
in three drone strikes, officials say.
The number of such strikes in Yemen,
presumably launched by the US, has
been stepped up over the past month.
The latest attacks come a day after
Yemeni authorities said they had foiled a
major al-Qaeda plot against oil pipelines
and ports.
Yemen is deemed a stronghold of an al-
Qaeda offshoot considered by
Washington to be the most dangerous to
the West.
In the latest strike on Thursday evening,
Yemeni officials told BBC Arabic that a
drone targeted a group of suspected
militants, killing four of them in Wadi al-
Jadd in the southern province of
Hadramout.
Two strikes earlier in the day in Marib
and Hadramout provinces killed 10
suspected militants, the security officials
said.
On Wednesday, another seven people
died in a drone attack.
While the US has acknowledged targeting
militants in Yemen with drones, it does
not comment publicly on its policy or
the raids.
About 30 suspected militants have been
killed in a series of such raids in Yemen
since 28 July, news agencies report.
Earlier this week Yemeni security forces
were placed on high alert amid fears of
an al-Qaeda-linked attack that prompted
Western embassies to close.
Both the US and UK withdrew diplomatic
staff and urged their nationals to leave
the country.
On Thursday, Yemeni counter-terrorism
forces raided a number of addresses
north of the capital Sanaa after a tip-off
that they were being used by operatives
of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula
(AQAP), a Yemeni security source told
BBC Arabic.
In another development, a Yemeni
diplomatic source told BBC Arabic that
the US had suspended arrangements to
return about 100 Yemeni detainees from
the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.
However a White House official said
there had been no policy change and
that President Barack Obama's May
decision to lift a moratorium on
transferring Guantanamo detainees to
Yemen remained in effect.
"He lifted the moratorium on transfers in
favour of a case-by-case evaluation. That
evaluation necessarily will take into
account security conditions. The security
situation is always taken into account,"
the official told the BBC.
Yemeni troops have implemented security
measures across the capital Sanaa amid
fears of an al-Qaeda attack
Foreign diplomatic missions - like the Dutch
embassy pictured here - extended their
closure and pulled staff out
Multiple checkpoints have been set up
around the city
The country remained on heightened alert as
Muslims celebrated the end of the fasting
month of Ramadan
The day before, the Yemeni government
said it had foiled a plot to blow up oil
pipelines and seize major ports