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Pentagon: U.S. Airstrike Kills Al Qaeda Senior Leader in Yemen

by NBC News /
Image: Forensic experts investigate the scene at the community hall where Saudi-led warplanes struck a funeral in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen
Forensic experts investigate the scene at the community hall where Saudi-led warplanes struck a funeral in Sanaa, Yemen.KHALED ABDULLAH / Reuters

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A U.S. airstrike in Yemen killed a senior al Qaeda leader in the Arabian peninsula, the Department of Defense said in a statement on Friday.

Abd al-Ghani al-Rasas, a terrorist leader in the region, died during an airstrike in a remote area of al Bayda Governorate in Yemen, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement.

Image: Aftermath of airstrike on Yemen
Smoke rises from a hall where Saudi-led warplanes struck a funeral Saturday in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. Two missiles were fired at a U.S. Navy ship from Yemen rebel-controlled territory Sunday, the Pentagon said.Khaled Abdullah / Reuters

"This operation is an example of the U.S. government and our allies' commitment to the people and the government of Yemen to detect, deter, disrupt and defeat violent extremists who threaten progress in the region, as well as threaten to conduct terrorist attacks against innocent people in the region and around the world," Cook said in a statement.

Yemen has been enmeshed in a civil war between Shiite Houthi rebels fighting the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi that erupted in March 2015.

The terrorist group has capitalized on the resultant chaos and has increased its territory in the country.

In August, U.S. military killed three al Qaeda operatives in an airstrike. In July, an airstrike killed a al Qaeda operative in central Yemen and six others were killed in a separate series of airstrikes later that month.

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