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Deputy al Qaeda leader killed In Syria

Deputy al Qaeda leader killed In Syria

At least four militants were killed in United States air strikes on Al Qaeda in Yemen on Thursday, including in the same province where American forces carried out a ground raid against the extremists in late January.

The spokesperson noted that the strikes were coordinated with the Yemeni government and President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. It is similar to the authority the USA military was granted for the Libyan city of Sirte, where it conducted a multi-month air campaign against the Islamic State a year ago.

USA fighter jets pounded Al-Qaeda targets in Yemen for a second straight day on Friday, security and tribal sources said, as Washington steps up its air war against the jihadists. Another US official said they had involved both fighter jets and drones.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters that USA airstrikes have targeted members of the group as well as their facilities, equipment, fighting positions and heavy weapons such as artillery. The officials told The Associated Press that US jets and drones have targeted the district of al-Sawmaa in the province of Bayda during the early hours in the morning.

Among those killed was Chief Special Warfare Officer William "Ryan" Owens.

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US intelligence and military officials still view AQAP as a real threat to the United States, as do allies like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Davis said the number of bombs dropped in the airstrikes numbering in the "mid-20s" had been launched on Thursday, followed by several more Friday, putting the combined total at more than 30.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in ground battles and airstrikes since then, many of them civilians.

The strikes come barely a month after a controversial American commando raid against the extremists in which several civilians and a USA commando were killed.

The defense official said the Defense Department, as instructed by President Barack Obama's administration, is not required to announce strikes outside of "areas of active hostility".

He also called the recent mission a "total fiasco" and a "disaster", noting that the death toll of innocent civilians in Yemen just goes without mention in United States media. Officials continue to mine that material for information they can use against AQAP.

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