5 top Al Qaeda members killed in Yemeni airstrike

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Sana'a (Yemen), Jan. 16 (ANI): At least five senior member of Al Qaeda's Arabian branch were killed in a Yemeni missile strike on Friday, officials have claimed.

The missile strike, which also killed group's military commander, was the latest in a new US-supported campaign to cripple Al Qaeda's regional arm, which has gained global attention since it claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day flight bombing bid.

If the death of Qaeda's military commander Qassim al-Raymi is confirmed, it would be a serious blow to the group, the New York Times reports.

According to many terrorism analysts, Raymi, a veteran jihadist and the main planner of Qaeda operations here, is the group's most important and dangerous member.

His death was announced at least once before, and he has eluded several attempts on his life in the past three years.

It was not clear whether the airstrike was carried out with help or coordination from the United States, which has provided ammunition and intelligence for some recent raids on Al Qaeda's Yemen-based affiliate.

The Yemeni government has struggled to play down that assistance, because the spectre of American intervention arouses anger in Yemen and has been used by Al Qaeda to recruit new members. (ANI)

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