Skip to main content

Security officials: Militants target gas pipeline after airstrikes kill 6 in Yemen

By Hakim Almasmari, For CNN
March 31, 2012 -- Updated 0856 GMT (1656 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The airstrikes prompt retaliation from suspected al Qaeda fighters
  • Officials: U.S. drones target Azzan, a town controlled by al Qaeda
  • One of the strikes targets a vehicle suspected of carrying al Qaeda fighters

(CNN) -- Suspected U.S. drones targeted militant hideouts in southern Yemen, killing six people and injuring five others, security officials said Saturday.

Fatalities comprised of five al Qaeda militants and one civilian, according to the officials.

The strikes prompted retaliation from suspected al Qaeda fighters, who blew up one of the main gas pipelines in the country.

"The militants know the weak points of the government and production at the Balhaf liquidation plant will be halted," a security official said.

Both security officials did not want to be named because they are not authorized to talk to the media.

In a statement, the liquidation plant confirmed the sabotage of the gas pipeline that links the block 18 to the Balhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden. It said the explosion occurred Friday in a desert area north of the plant. No one was injured in the explosion.

Both U.S. strikes targeted Azzan, a town controlled by al Qaeda and considered a stronghold for the terror group in Yemen, the officials said.

One of the strikes targeted a vehicle suspected of carrying two wanted al Qaeda fighters.

Earlier this month, U.S. strikes in the southern province of Abyan targeted Ansaar al-Sharia, a militant group with close links to al Qaeda. The strikes came after the terror group took over military bases in the province, killing more than 100 troops.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT