Drone kills al-Qaida officials in Yemen

Oct. 16, 2011 at 9:41 PM
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AZZAN, Yemen, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- A U.S. drone airstrike in Yemen killed a top al-Qaida official and a son of slain senior al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki near Azzan, security officials said.

Ibrahim al-Banna, head of information affairs for al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula, was killed in last week's attack by the unmanned aircraft, the Yemen Observer reported Sunday.

Al-Banna, an Egyptian national, and at least six other al-Qaida members, including Abdul-Rahman al-Awlaki, the 21-year-old son of Anwar Awlaki, a prominent American-born cleric killed in a similar attack two weeks ago, were killed in the operation.

As political unrest continues in Yemen, the United States has escalated its attacks on al-Qaida members in the country, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Now is the time when they [al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula] are on their back heels and not the time to let up, so they don't have the time, place and space to train, plot and execute attacks. It's the right time to accelerate," said Frank Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University.

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