U.S. forces have continued a dramatically ramped up air campaign against al-Qaida and Islamic State in Yemen, conducting 18 airstrikes in Yemen in December and January.
Most of these strikes targeted al-Qaida, but about five targeted Islamic State in Yemen, a U.S. military official confirmed to VOA.
One December airstrike killed al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) deputy arms facilitator Habib al-Sana’ani in Marib governorate, the U.S. military said Tuesday.
Al-Sana’ani had ties to senior AQAP leadership and was responsible for moving weapons, explosives and finances into Yemen, according to a statement from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East.
“Every strike advances the defeat of violent extremist organizations, and protects the United States and partner nations from attack at home and abroad,” said CENTCOM spokesman Lt. Col. Earl Brown.
In 2017, the U.S. military said it carried out a total of about 130 strikes in Yemen. That’s more than six times greater than the 21 strikes conducted in Yemen under the Obama administration in 2016.
At least 10 air strikes have been carried out in Yemen so far this year.