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US soldier dies in raid targeting al Qaida operatives in Yemen

A US soldier has been killed and three others injured in a raid in Yemen targeting its local al Qaida branch.

The fatality marks the first-known combat death of US service personnel under President Donald Trump's new administration.

US Central Command said a fourth service member was injured in a "hard landing" in a nearby location.

The aircraft - presumably a helicopter - was unable to fly afterwards and was "intentionally destroyed".

The Central Command statement said 14 militants from al Qaida's branch in Yemen, formally known as al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, were killed in the assault.

It added that US service members taking part in the raid captured "information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots".

Yemeni security and tribal officials said the assault in Yemen's central Bayda province killed three senior al Qaida leaders.

The surprise dawn attack in Bayda province killed Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab, and Seif al-Nims, the officials said.

The al-Dhahab family is considered an ally of al Qaida, which is now chiefly concentrated in Bayda province.

A third family member, Tarek al-Dhahab, was killed in a previous US drone strike several years ago. It was not immediately clear whether the family members were actual members of al Qaida.

The US troops killed or wounded some two dozen men, including some Saudis present at the site, according to the Yemeni officials.

An official with al Qaida confirmed the killings, describing the attack as a "massacre" and saying that women and children had been killed as well, although he provided no evidence to back his claim.

He said Apache attack helicopters struck the area from the air before dropping commandos in for the raid, which took place near Yakla village in Radaa district.

Just over a week ago, suspected US drone strikes killed three other alleged al Qaida operatives in Bayda province in what was the first-such killings reported in the country since Mt Trump assumed the presidency.


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