SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Pro-government fighters in Yemen attacked and killed a senior al-Qaeda leader and three people traveling in his convoy near a security checkpoint in the southern Abyan province on Friday, Yemeni officials said.
Ali Abed al-Rab bin Talab, better known as Abu Anwar, was the extremist group’s chief judge in Yemen’s largest province, Hadramawt, which al-Qaeda largely controls. He survived a suspected US drone attack in 2014.
Before the attack, Abu Anwar’s convoy was heading to the southern port city of Aden, the officials said.
Al-Qaida and Islamic State-linked militants have exploited the chaos of Yemen’s civil war to make incursions into the strategic port city, where militant attacks targeting pro-government officials have escalated in recent months.
Al-Qaida’s Yemen branch is considered by Washington to be the most dangerous offshoot of the terror network. Yemen’s conflict pits the country’s internationally recognized government and the US-backed Saudi-led coalition against the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, who are allied with Yemen’s longtime former president.
A day earlier in Aden, Yemeni Maj. Gen. Ahmed Seif, the commander of pro-government forces in five regional provinces, survived a roadside bombing that killed one of his companions and wounded two, Aden officials said.
All the officials, who remain neutral in the conflict that has torn Yemen apart, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The United Nations says the civil war in the Arab world’s poorest country has killed more than 5,800 people since March, when the Saudi-led coalition launched an air-campaign targeting the Houthis.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.