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Drone Strike Kills Al-Qaida Militants  02/28 14:26

   SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- A suspected U.S. drone strike Saturday in central Yemen 
killed three men believed to be al-Qaida militants, security officials said.

   The officials said the attack took place in the town of Bihan in Yemen's 
Shabwa province and that the nationalities of the men killed had not been 
established. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not 
authorized to brief journalists.

   The U.S. has launched several strikes in recent weeks, reflecting 
Washington's resolve to keep fighting the militants despite Yemen's political 
paralysis. A Shiite rebel power grab forced the president to flee the capital 
and run the country from the southern city of Aden.

   Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as its Yemeni affiliate is known, is 
considered by Washington as the network's most dangerous franchise.

   Meanwhile Saturday, the Shiite rebels who control Yemen's capital, Sanaa, 
signed an agreement with Iranian authorities in Tehran to set up direct flights 
between the two countries, the nation's official news agency reported.

   The memorandum of understanding between aviation officials from the two 
countries calls for 14 flights per week from each side, according to the SABA 
news agency, controlled by the Shiite rebels known as Houthis. Officials also 
discussed training for Yemenis in the aviation sector, it added.

   The rebels, who stormed into the capital, Sanaa, last September, are widely 
believed to have support from regional Shiite power Iran. Yemeni President Abed 
Rabbo Mansour Hadi managed to escape Sanaa and house arrest at the hands of the 
rebels and has established a base in the southern city of Aden, from where he 
says he is still the country's rightful ruler.

   Also Saturday, Bahrain announced it was relocating its embassy in Yemen to 
Aden, a move aimed at supporting Hadi. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates 
and Kuwait have done the same since Friday.

   Thousands of anti-Houthi protesters also marched in five provinces --- Taiz, 
Ibb, Dhamar, Sanaa and Hodeida.


(KA)


 
 
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