Local officials in Yemen’s southern Shabwa province reported that an American drone strike killed four al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighters today including a local emir. Today’s strike is the first reported in Yemen in nearly three weeks.

The strike, which was launched by remotely piloted Predators or Reapers, targeted a vehicle traveling in the town of Bani Assaf in the Gol al Rayda district of Mayfa’a in Shabwa province, according to reports. Locals claimed that all the passengers in the vehicle were killed and that among the dead was an AQAP commander named Mahdi Badas, who also went by the nom-de-guerre Abu Hussein.

As commonly occurs following reports of a US drone strike in Yemen, the Yemeni Ministry of Defense claimed that the strike was carried out by the Yemeni air force. The ministry confirmed that AQAP commander Mahdi Badas was killed in the strike and described him as the “AQAP emir in Shabwa province.” The Yemeni military does not possess the capability to accurately target moving vehicles. […]