Drone strike in Yemen kills two al Qaeda suspects | Reuters

KUWAIT An air strike from a drone killed two men south of the Yemeni city of Marib on Saturday suspected of belonging to al Qaeda, local residents said by phone.

"A drone fired two missiles at a car that had two men in it in al-Manain district south of Marib city, and the car was totally destroyed and the men were killed instantly," one of them said.

The United States has used drone strikes in Yemen to target leaders of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the group's local wing, which has plotted to place bombs on international airliners and has encouraged attacks in Western countries.

Since Yemen's civil war began last year, AQAP has gained control over swathes of eastern Yemen, creating a local government there and introducing services.

The war is between the Houthi movement and forces loyal to a former president on one side, and forces backed by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and supported by an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia on the other.

Both sides in Yemen's civil war say they regard AQAP as a threat, and the group has previously attacked both Hadi's government and the Houthis.

Since March, air strikes targeting Islamist militants have increased in Yemen, including a March 27 attack that killed 14 suspected AQAP members in Abyan province in the country's south.

Yemen's warring parties began direct peace talks in Kuwait on Friday and will continue to meet despite failing to agree on an agenda, participants said.

Officials travelling to Saudi Arabia with U.S. President Barack Obama this week said they hoped moves towards a peace deal in Yemen would allow a renewed focus on challenging AQAP.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Updated Date: Apr 23, 2016 16:00:16 IST