A senior al-Qaeda leader who was in charge of manufacturing explosives was killed alongside two of his companions in a Monday (January 30) air strike in northeastern Yemen's Marib province, local media and officials reported.
The Monday evening strike targeted the three men as they travelled in a car near a gas station in Wadi Obeida, a government official said on condition of anonymity.
A second Marib government official confirmed the strike on al-Qaeda militants and the death toll.
According to the Akhbar Al-Aan media outlet, one of the three killed was Hassan al-Hadrami, a key leader of the group and an experienced explosives manufacturer who had risen in the ranks because of his skill in this area.
According to some analysts, the outlet said, the type of munition used in the strike is one commonly used to target senior extremists.
Al-Qaeda elements previously have come under fire in the same area.
Last month, the former manufacturer of explosives for al-Qaeda in Yemen, Abul Khair Abdul Wahed al-Najdi, was killed in a strike on a house in Wadi Obeida, according to Erem News.
Al-Hadrami was present with al-Najdi at the time of the strike but survived that attack, the news outlet reported.
In January 2020, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) emir Qassim al-Rimi was killed in an air strike in Wadi Obeida.
And in December 2017, the AQAP propaganda chief, Saudi-born Abu Hajar al-Makki, was among six extremists killed in two separate strikes in Wadi Obeida.
Rewards for information
The US State Department's Rewards for Justice programme on January 6 renewed its offer of a reward of up to $5 million for anyone who provides information about Egyptian al-Qaeda leader Ibrahim al-Banna.
Al-Banna, also known as Abu Ayman al-Masri, is the last surviving founding member of AQAP, it said, and "has been involved in terrorism for decades".
He serves as a functionary to al-Qaeda leaders based in Iran.
The Rewards for Justice programme has previously announced rewards of up to $11 million for information leading to the arrest of AQAP leaders Saad bin Atef al-Awlaki and Khalid Saeed al-Batarfi.
Al-Batarfi is a senior member of AQAP in Yemen's Hadramaut province and a former member of the group's shura council.
Al-Awlaki is the Shabwa province "emir" of AQAP.
The programme also has offered a $10 million reward for information on prominent AQAP leader and Sudan native Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi.
"There is no place for al-Qaeda traitors in Yemen, not now nor in the future," Rewards for Justice said.
AQAP is among the most dangerous branches of the global network.
AQAP, and other militants loyal to the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), have thrived in the chaos of Yemen's ongoing conflict, which pits the internationally recognised government against the Iran-backed Houthis.