Yemen Air Raids 'Target Al-Qaeda Militants Near Bayda'

At least 10 al-Qaeda militants, including some leaders, have been killed in air strikes in southern Yemen, reports say.

The raids against the militants targeted Bayda, about 130 km south-east of the capital Sanaa, late on Friday

At least 10 al-Qaeda militants, including some leaders, have been killed in air strikes in southern Yemen, reports say.

Al-Qaeda targets were struck close to the city of Bayda, some 130km (80 miles) south of the capital Sanaa late on Friday, officials said.

Police and security sources told the AFP the strikes had killed 23.

Officials said the attacks were carried out by Yemeni planes, although some residents thought they were US planes.

However, the BBC's Jon Leyne, reporting from Cairo, says until now the United States has mainly used drones to target members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has bases in southern Yemen.

Residents in Bayda told Reuters news agency that Friday night's raid targeted bases belonging to AQAP-linked Ansar al-Sharia militants.

A government source told Reuters the warplanes targeted a gathering of "al-Qaeda elements", killing 10 militants, including leaders, and their vehicles.

He said the militants were carrying equipment and weapons in order to launch attacks in Bayda province, Reuters reports.

Militants believed to be linked to al-Qaeda have exploited a security vacuum in the region after months of protests demanding the resignation of long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Friday's strike comes weeks after Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was sworn in as president, and suggests a new determination against the fight against al-Qaeda in Yemen, our correspondent says.

Such a drive would most likely be in collaboration with the US, which has recently talked about restarting a major programme of assistance, our correspondent says.