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U.S. drone strike kills 3 al-Qaida members in Yemen

ADEN, Yemen, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Three members of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch were killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen's southeastern province of Hadramout, a government official told Xinhua Wednesday.

"The U.S. drone pounded two motorcycles with four missiles in the coastal city of Mukalla, Hadramout's provincial capital, killing three terrorists including a commander," the local official said on condition of anonymity.

The strike took place on Tuesday night in Mukalla city where the al-Qaida terrorist group has large presence after taking control of several key government facilities during the past few months.

An intelligence official based in Hadramout confirmed to Xinhua that "initial information indicates that a senior al-Qaida member wanted by the Yemeni government was among the dead."

Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional al-Qaida insurgencies in the Middle East.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, an organization that emerged in January 2009 and also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks on Yemen's army and government institutions.

The network is led by Yemeni national Nasser al-Wuhayshi, who declared in July 2011 the group's allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of the worldwide al-Qaida network, after its founder Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in 2011.

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