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US Military Says Airstrikes Killed 13 Militants in Yemen

  • VOA News

FILE - A man walks past graffiti denouncing strikes by U.S. drones in Yemen.

FILE - A man walks past graffiti denouncing strikes by U.S. drones in Yemen.

The U.S. military says a series of airstrikes targeting al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen during the past two weeks killed 13 militants and injured one other.

A statement Tuesday from U.S. Central command said the three strikes happened in Yemen's central Shabwah province between August 24 and September 4.

It also noted that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula "remains a significant threat to the region" and the U.S.

"Al-Qaida's presence has a destabilizing effect on Yemen; it is using the unrest in Yemen to provide a haven from which to plan future attacks against our allies as well as the U.S. and its interests," the statement said. An August statement about another strike in the same part of Yemen used identical language.

The U.S. campaign targeting AQAP with drones has been going on for seven years with more than 100 strikes that have killed some of the group's top leaders, but also brought criticism about civilian deaths.

In July, the White House acknowledged at least 64 civilians deaths from drone strikes in places like Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan since 2009, a figure that many watchdog groups said is really much higher.

President Barack Obama issued an executive order calling civilian casualties a "tragic and at times unavoidable consequence" of armed conflicts and highlighting the need for practices that reduce the likelihood innocent people will be hurt.

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