US Drone Kills Three as Yemeni Offensive Continues

Offensive Slows as It Nears Capital, Military Officials Say

by Jason Ditz, May 17, 2012

US drones struck a vehicle in the Hadramout Province of Yemen today, killing three people who local officials said were believed to be involved with Ansar al-Sharia. Beyond this supposition, the identities of the slain were not known.

The strike comes amid growing US attacks across the nation’s south and east, and with the Yemeni military launching a massive military offensive, reportedly under US direction, against the Abyan Province, another Ansar al-Sharia stronghold.

The Ansar al-Sharia faction has held sway over Abyan since June, and past offensives have ended with the Yemeni military being routed by the rebels. This time, the military is claiming significant inroads, though it says progress has slowed as it nears the provincial capital of Zinjibar.

Ansar al-Sharia is reportedly linked to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Even on its own, the group seems to be able to tackle the Yemeni military on a more or less equal footing, and the ongoing battle seems far from over, despite the Hadi regime’s confidence.

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