Yemen officials: US airstrikes hit al-Qaida area

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SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- Yemeni military officials say U.S. aircraft have carried out four airstrikes in a southern province where al-Qaida controls several key towns.

Two military officials say the airstrikes targeted Khanfar Mountain, near the town of Jaar in Abyan province, where al-Qaida is in control.

There was no comment from U.S. officials. In the past, U.S. warplanes have targeted leaders and facilities of al-Qaida in Yemen, considered one of its most dangerous branches.

The Yemeni officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.

Al-Qaida has taken advantage of a year of internal turmoil to take over parts of southern Yemen.

There was no word on casualties. Residents said Sunday they could see smoke rising from the area.

On Saturday, Yemeni officials said U.S. airstrikes killed at least 18 militants.