Alleged U.S. drone strikes took out three al-Qaida operatives in Yemen Saturday, during the first drone strikes in the country since President Donald Trump took office.
The two strikes took out area field commander Anis al-Abi and two others, The Associated Press reported Sunday, citing anonymous sources. At least seven other militants were killed in a separate drone strike in the same area.
A U.S. official confirmed “targeted drone strikes” were carried out in Yemen starting Friday and that they were aimed at al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, CNN reported Monday.
The strikes did not require approval from Trump, as the authority to order such strikes in country was transferred to Gen. Joseph Votel, a four-star commander of U.S. Central Command, during the Obama administration.
Overall, about 75 people were killed in the Yemen conflict over the weekend. At least 52 Houthi rebel fighters died during an offensive on the Red Sea coast by a Saudi-led coalition.
U.S. airstrikes in Yemen rose dramatically during President Barack Obama’s time in the White House. U.S. intelligence officials said up to 117 civilians were killed in drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries during Obama’s presidency. Other reports claim the death toll is up to six times higher than the official figures.