U.S. military officials on Friday disclosed that four air strikes inside Yemen have killed 15 al-Qaida militants dating back to February and March.

Yemen is one of the terror group’s primary strongholds in the region. The newly announced strikes bring to nine the total there so far in 2016, and highlight an intensifying U.S. mission that also includes a small team of American ground troops.

Those forces are operating near the Yemeni port of al Mukalla, a safe haven for the group known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.

The air strikes, announced by U.S. Central Command, include:

  • A May 19 strike in the Shabwah Governorate in central Yemen killed four al-Qaida operatives.
  • A March 30 strike near Azzan in central Yemen killed two al-Qaida operatives.
  • A Feb. 29 strike in Hadramawt Governorate in east Yemen killed three al-Qaida operatives.
  • A Feb. 3 strike in Shabwah Governorate in central Yemen killed six al-Qaida operatives.

In March 2015, the U.S. evacuated about 125 special operations troops amid the expanding civil war between Yemen’s government loyalists backed by a Sunni Arab coalition and Houthi rebels supported by Iran.

Read More- Military Times

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