Riyadh - Arab coalition leaders fighting in Yemen said in a statement that their helicopters carried out an air strike Saturday to support the Yemeni counter-terrorism army in their battle against Houthi militias.

These raids were launched in pursuit of Al-Qaeda targets in the city of Mukalla.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted the source stating that a number of members and senior leaders of different nationalities belonging to Al-Qaeda were arrested in Wadi al-Hadramawt, including Ahmed Said Awad Barhamah, known as Zarqawi.

The operation also resulted in the termination of terrorist plots by confiscating various equipment, weapons and armaments intended to carry out terrorist operations in a number of areas in Hadramawt.

Major General Ahmad Saeed Bin Braik, Governor of Hadramawt said, during a telephone interview with Al Arabiya's sister channel Al Hadath on Saturday evening, that elite forces carried out numerous ground operations against Al-Qaeda operatives with air support from Arab coalition forces.

He added that the operations enabled the capture of seven Al-Qaeda members, including two leaders, one of them was Abu Ali al-Saeri, a terror suspect believed to be responsible for the killing of soldiers in 2014, together with Ahmed Saeed Awad Baramah and a number of his companions.

Major General Bin Braik stressed the importance of these operations carried out with the participation of coalition forces in obstructing suicide bombings and assassinations.


AFP adds: A presumed US drone strike in south Yemen on Sunday killed five suspected members of Al-Qaeda and three civilians, a security official said.

Earlier, a local official gave a toll of three suspects killed in the strike in the Al-Said area of Shabwa province.

The vehicle targeted was carrying five suspected Al-Qaeda members, all of whom were killed by a missile, the security official said.

Three civilians who went to their aid were killed when a second missile struck, the official said. Washington has sharply intensified its air war against the jihadists since President Donald Trump took office in January.

The Pentagon said on April 3 that it had carried out more than 70 strikes against jihadist targets in Yemen since February 28.

Before Sunday's attack, two strikes overnight on Tuesday killed five suspected members of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Washington regards AQAP to be the most dangerous branch of the extremist group. Last month, US media reports said Trump's administration had given new powers to the CIA to conduct drone strikes against extremist targets in the Middle East.