More than 20 US strikes targeted Al-Qaeda in Yemen: Pentagon

Forces loyal to the Saudi-backed Yemeni president stand guard on a road at the entrance to Abyan province in April 2016

US forces on Thursday conducted a series of air strikes in Yemen against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Pentagon said.

"More than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, Baida and Shabwa," Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said in a statement.

"The strikes were conducted in partnership with the government of Yemen, and were coordinated with President (Abedrabbo Mansour) Hadi."

The strikes come barely a month after a controversial American commando raid against the jihadists that left multiple civilians dead and killed a US Navy SEAL.

A US official told AFP that Thursday's strikes had been planned months ago and were unrelated to the botched raid, which the White House has repeatedly claimed was a success that yielded crucial intelligence.

"The raid was valuable, but the strikes were not directly related to it," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Davis said the strikes targeted militants, equipment, infrastructure, heavy weapons systems and fighting positions.

"The strikes will degrade the AQAP's ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit their ability to use territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen as a safe space for terror plotting," he said.

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