Aden: US drone strikes killed eight al-Qaeda militants at a gathering of the jihadists in their southern Yemeni stronghold of Jaar, a local source said on Thursday.

"We heard three explosions rock the town at midnight (2100 GMT)," the source said, adding that a "US drone" carried out the strikes on a residence where they had been meeting.

"Eight militants were killed and their bodies were left in pieces," he said.

The raid came after an air strike in eastern Yemen on Sunday killed Fahd al-Quso, an Al Qaeda leader wanted in connection with the deadly 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.

US media reported on Tuesday that Quso's killing came after information provided by a man who had infiltrated the militant group and was ordered by al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen to blow up a US-bound airliner.

American officials leaked out details of the extraordinary intelligence coup two days after the White House announced a plot by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, had been successfully thwarted.

The spy, reportedly a Saudi "mole" or "double agent," spent weeks with AQAP and garnered sensitive information that was passed on to the Americans, allowing the CIA to launch a drone strike on Sunday against Quso, reports said.

Quso's name figured on an FBI list of most wanted terrorists, along with a reward of up to USD 5 million for information leading to his arrest.

Several military officials in Sanaa said that air strikes like the one that targeted Quso are launched by US aircraft and coordinated by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, and military and intelligence leaders.

Hadi, who succeeded veteran leader Ali Abdullah Saleh after he stepped down following a year of protests, has vowed since his election in February to intensify the war against Al-Qaeda.


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