An [US] drone strike in Yemen killed six alleged al-Qaeda members Thursday, a tribal source said, a day after Sanaa reported it had foiled a militant plot to storm a Western-run oil terminal.
The dawn attack, presumed to have been launched by an American drone, was the sixth of its kind since the end of July.
It targeted two cars bearing suspected members of al-Qaeda in the Maarib region east of the capital, the source said, and came as a terror alert kept US and some Western missions in the region and farther afield closed.
Washington has launched scores of drone strikes in Yemen, where AQAP thrives in vast, lawless areas largely outside the government’s control.
US drone strikes in Yemen nearly tripled in 2012 compared to 2011, from 18 to 53, according to the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank.
Critics of US drone strikes have denounced the impact the attacks have had on Yemeni civilians, who have been killed or seen their homes destroyed. The United States counts any male of military age killed in drone strikes as “militants,” regardless of their actual involvement with al-Qaeda.