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Four al-Qaeda suspects killed by 'US drone' in Yemen

Saudi border guard killed by rocket fire from Yemen's Houthi militiamen
A Yemeni boy walks past a mural depicting a US drone that reads, " Why did you kill my family?" (AFP)

Four suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed overnight in an apparent US drone strike in Mukalla, the southern Yemeni city that the group overran in April, a local official said on Sunday.

The four were travelling in a car on the tarmac of Mukalla's Al-Rayane airport that was struck by a missile fired by an "American drone," according to the unnamed official, killing them instantly. 

The night strike follows a similar attack on Friday which killed three al-Qaeda suspects as they travelled through the central Marib province, tribal sources said.

The United States is the only country known to operate armed drones over Yemen, and strikes have continued on suspected militants even as the country has been battered by months of fighting between pro- and anti-government forces. 

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), viewed by Washington as the network's most dangerous branch, has taken advantage of the chaos to seize Mukalla, capital of the vast desert Hadramawt province. 

The group admitted in June that its leader in Yemen Nasir al-Wuhayshi had been killed in a drone strike.

Two senior AQAP commanders were killed in similar attacks in April.

A local official told AFP on Saturday that AQAP militants had planted a bomb that destroyed the headquarters of the secret police service in Yemen's second city, Aden. 

Saudi border guard killed by rocket fire from Yemen

Meanwhile, a Saudi border guard has been killed by rocket fire from anti-government Houthi militiamen in northern Yemen, Riyadh's official SPA news agency said on Sunday.

A border post in the kingdom's Jazan region came under attack on Saturday, prompting guards to respond to the fire, the SPA said, quoting an interior ministry spokesman. 

It said one Saudi guard was killed in the exchange. 

More than 50 people have been killed along the Saudi-Yemen border since a Riyadh-led military coalition began air strikes on Iran-backed militia across the impoverished country in March.

British hostage rescued in Yemen operation

Meanwhile, a British hostage has been freed in Yemen following an operation by United Arab Emirates forces, the Foreign Office in London announced on Sunday.

"I'm pleased to confirm that a British hostage held in Yemen has been extracted by UAE forces in a military intelligence operation," Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement. 

Hammond added that the freed hostage was "safe and well" and that Britain was "very grateful for the assistance of the UAE".

The statement did not identify the person or give any further details of the operation to free them.

Last year, British teacher Mike Harvey was released after being held for five months in Yemen following negotiations by the government in Sanaa.

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