WASHINGTON — The U.S. military killed five al-Qaida fighters in Yemen in an airstrike last week, U.S. Central Command announced Wednesday.
The Oct. 21 strike that targeted militants in a remote area of Marib Governorate in central Yemen was the third American airstrike against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in October. A strike on Oct. 18 killed six militants and another on Oct. 6 killed two, according to Central Command releases.
The United States has long targeted al-Qaida fighters in Yemen, where the group has taken advantage of a chaotic civil war to gain its own territory to plot terrorist operations.
Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who control much of northern Yemen, have been fighting the recognized Yemeni government, backed by American allies including Saudi Arabia, since March 2015. Al-Qaida has gained territory during the war, and it remains a "serious threat" to western nations including the United States, said Army Maj. Josh T. Jacques, a Central Command spokesman.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, in which 12 people were killed.
On Oct. 11, the USS Nitze destroyed three Houthi radar sites off the Red Sea coast with Tomahawk missiles after the rebels were accused of firing cruise missiles at another American warship off Yemen's coast.