U.S. forces killed five al-Qaida militants in Yemen on November 20, including two leaders, in an effort to disrupt attacks from the terror group.
The strikes targeted al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, a Yemen offshoot of the main core of al-Qaida.
“Mujahid al-Adani, an AQAP Shabwah leader, was killed in the strikes, along with al-Bayda-based facilitator Abu Layth al-Sanaani and three AQAP associates,” reads a press release from U.S. Central Command.
An offensive launched in August by the United Arab Emirates with local forces backed by U.S.-air support has put considerable strain on AQAP militants in Shabwah governorates, Yemen. A small number of U.S. troops and warplanes assisted in that offensive.
The operation has put pressure on AQAP fighters and “has forced AQAP to consolidate within the northern and eastern portions of the Abyan and eastern Al-Bayda governorates respectively,” the press release states.
Al-Adani was an AQAP military commander in Aden, Yemen, with significant influence and ties to other senior AQAP leaders. He was responsible for attacks against Yemeni and coalition forces.
U.S. forces have launched more than 100 strikes in Yemen since January. And in mid-October, U.S. strikes targeted ISIS militants in the country for the first time.
“The removal of key AQAP leaders and associates in this region will further degrade AQAP’s freedom of movement and operation, limiting their ability to challenge Yemeni security forces and coalition advances,” CENTCOM said in its press release.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.