ADEN, Yemen, April 17 (Xinhua) -- At least seven militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch were killed late Monday when a U.S. drone raided several sites held by the terrorists in the southeastern province of Shabwa, a security official said Tuesday.
The U.S. drone strike pounded several militant hideouts, training facilities and arsenals in the insurgent-controlled town of Azzan, some 150 km east of Ataq, the provincial capital of Shabwa, killing at least seven terrorists, the local security official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Among the dead were some leading foreign Jihadists, the official said, adding that "all the foreign victims in the air bombing have not been identified yet."
A Yemeni intelligence officer told Xinhua anonymously that the foreigners killed in the attack were a Syrian and an Algerian.
On Monday evening, a Yemeni security official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that missiles struck some local leaders of the al-Qaida who were aboard a pickup-vehicle in the coastal town of Azzan, the official said.
The al-Qaida spokesman said in a statement obtained by Xinhua Monday night that "three of our holly worriers were martyred in an attack by a U.S. drone raid."
U.S. drones and Yemeni air fores frequently attacked strongholds of al-Qaida militants in Shabwa, where al-Qaida insurgents have taken advantage of Yemen's chaos to overrun several cities in the province since May 2011.
In recent months, militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch have heavily carried out assaults and suicide bombings against government troops across lawless southern regions. Hundreds of al- Qaida militants have built up strongholds in the impenetrable mountains in Abyan and Shabwa provinces and seized control of several regions in the south.