April 21, 2014, 07:44 am
Strikes kill 40 al Qaeda militants in Yemen
By Rebecca Shabad
At least 30 suspected al Qaeda militants were killed in air strikes on Sunday in Yemen, according to multiple reports.
A high-level Yemeni government official told CNN the operation targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is "massive and unprecedented."
The round of air strikes on Sunday came a day after one on Saturday killed at least 10 al Qaeda militants and several civilians in central Yemen.
The official told CNN the raid on Sunday was a joint U.S.-Yemeni operation, but did not specify whether drones were used.
U.S. officials have previously acknowledged the U.S. launches drone strikes against AQAP in Yemen, but none made comments on the operations.
The strikes come about a week after a video surfaced online that showed one of the largest gatherings of al Qaeda in Yemen in years.
Several hundred masked men are seen in the video at an undisclosed location waving al Qaeda’s black flag and welcoming a group that escaped a prison earlier this year.
AQAP’s leader, Nasir al-Quhayshi, was identified in the video. Reports said it was unclear whether the CIA was aware of the gathering at the time.
Former CIA deputy director Mike Morell said Monday it's “a very dangerous situation” and that he heard rumors al Qaeda bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri may have been killed.
“So this is a very dangerous guy. I consider him the most dangerous terrorist on the planet. So, if he is gone, that would be a very good thing,” Morell said on “CBS This Morning.”