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Yemen kills 5 'Qaeda' in raid on arms convoy

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Yemen's air force killed five suspected Al-Qaeda militants in a raid Tuesday on a convoy carrying weapons and ammunition, a local government official told AFP.

The assault comes as part of a major anti-Qaeda offensive launched on April 29.

"A three-truck convoy belonging to Al-Qaeda was targeted by the Yemeni air force in Bayhan, a road linking Shabwa and Marib" provinces, the official said.

"The cargo caught fire and five Al-Qaeda militants were killed," the source said.

Witnesses added that, shortly after the raid, a Yemeni helicopter landed at the site of the blast and arrested a tribesman who was searching for undamaged weapons among the rubble.

On Monday, a drone strike killed six Al-Qaeda suspects in Marib.

The army says it has inflicted heavy losses on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), seen by the US as the network's deadliest franchise, over the past two weeks.

The interior ministry said this week that checkpoints were set up around the provinces of Sanaa, Ibb, Baida, Lahij and Marib to prevent the entry of jihadists fleeing the offensive focused on Shabwa and Abyan -- both in the south.

AQAP took advantage of a 2011 uprising that forced veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh from power to seize large swathes of southern and eastern Yemen.

The army recaptured several major towns in 2012 but has struggled to reassert control in rural areas, despite the backing of militiamen recruited among local tribes.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140513/yemen-kills-5-qaeda-raid-arms-convoy