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Yemen: Seven al-Qaida militants killed in US ground raid

US COMMANDOS killed seven al-Qaida militants in an overnight ground in Yemen yesterday, the Pentagon confirmed.

The US Central Command said the raid in central Marib province used “a combination of small arms fire and precision air strikes” to attack a compound used by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — the group’s Yemen branch.

Explosions were heard in the al-Sirim area in Marib, followed by helicopters and gunfire. Yemeni security officials said there was also bombing in nearby Bayda province.

Two US officials told Reuters news agency that the raid was carried out to gather intelligence.

The operation allegedly had the support of the “Yemeni government” — a reference to former president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s Saudi-based government-in-waiting.

Mr Hadi was forced to flee Yemen in 2015 after Houthi rebels and their allies took over the capital Sanaa and surrounding provinces.

A nine-nation coalition led by Saudi Arabia has since fought against the rebels, who they believe are backed by Shia superpower Iran, to restore Mr Hadi’s government in Yemen.

Al-Qaida has exploited the civil war to gain ground in the region and carry out assassinations and bombings.

The raid comes just months after the US’s botched operation against AQAP in January that left at least 16 civilians including children dead.

Meanwhile the Saba news agency said Republican Guard troops and Houthi rebels attacked a force of Sudanese troops in the Midi desert on the Red Sea coast border with Saudi Arabia, killing 83 of them.

Sudan has previously played only a minor role in the coalition.

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