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Yemen: At least two militants killed in suspected US drone strike

At least two Al Qaeda militants have been killed in a suspected US drone attack in eastern Yemen.

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An image taken with a mobile phone allegedly shows an armed vehicle driving in Loder, in the restive southern Abyan province, as clashes continued between Al Qaeda militants and the Yemeni army forces on May 16, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

At least two Al Qaeda militants have been killed in a suspected US drone attack in eastern Yemen, as Washington steps up its aerial involvement in tackling insurgents.

A local security official told the Agence France Presse that the two militants were killed in a strike on their explosives-laden car in Shibam, a historic city in Yemen’s Haramawt province.

Residents in the area told Reuters that the car had in fact been carrying three passengers when it was attacked overnight, all of whom were members of a militant cell.

More from GlobalPost: US stepping up its covert war in Yemen, reports say

Although both US and Yemeni officials deny that drones are deployed in Yemen, their use is widely reported.

On Wednesday officials from both countries said a small contingent of US troops was providing targeting data for Yemeni airstrikes, as government forces battle to crush Al Qaeda militants and other insurgents in the county’s restive southern region, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Six days ago Yemeni forces launched a major offensive to claw back control of cities in the south from fighters belonging to Al Qaeda’s franchise in the country, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the BBC reports.

Yemen’s long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted in February, following a popular uprising against his 33-year rule. The US is pressuring the newly-elected government to tackle the militants who exploited the protests to dig in and entrench their positions in the south. 

More from GlobalPost: Army offensive against Al Qaeda in Yemen kills 16

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120517/yemen-at-least-two-militants-killed-suspected-us-drone-strike