The US reportedly killed seven al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters in a drone strike early this morning in the southern Yemeni province of Shabwa. The strike took place in the Azzan region of the province, located about 80 kilometers from the coast and long considered an AQAP stronghold in the country.

The remotely piloted Predators or Reapers attacked the AQAP fighters as they were gathered “under a group of trees” in Azzan, according to tribal sources. Some Yemeni military sources reported that the strike targeted AQAP fighters as they were driving a small truck through Azzan. The Yemeni Ministry of Defense claimed that the seven terrorists killed in the operation were in the process of planning an attack in the area using a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED), a tactic of choice by AQAP.

Local and tribal sources also suggested that two additional strikes took place during the night between Nov. 11 and Nov. 12 between the towns of Azzan and Mayfaa in Shabwa. However, no information regarding those alleged attacks is forthcoming. […]