The US reportedly killed up to 20 al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters in a drone strike today in the central Yemeni province of Baydah. The strike took place in an area where the jihadist group has been battling Shiite Houthi rebels who have advanced southwards after taking control of Sana’a, the capital, in late September.

The remotely piloted Predators or Reapers attacked AQAP targets due east of the city of Radaa, the site of protracted fighting between AQAP and Houthi rebels who began advancing on the city on Oct. 15. Local media reports indicated that the drones targeted a number of vehicles in the area, including a truck carrying weapons and a four-car AQAP convoy.

According to tribal sources and eyewitnesses, 20 AQAP fighters were killed in the strike. Some Yemeni news sources identified two of the slain fighters as explosives experts Ayyash al Eid and Ahmad Jarallah a.k.a. Abu Saleh, both of whom may have been trained by AQAP master bombmaker Ibrahim al Asiri or one of his lieutenants. Other reports went so far as to suggest that up to 30 AQAP fighters have been killed by US drone strikes in several locations northeast of Radaa. […]