(Reuters) - At least five people were killed in two drone strikes in south Yemen on Monday in what security and local officials said were attacks on suspected al Qaeda-linked insurgents.
Improving stability and security in Yemen is a priority for the United States and its Gulf Arab allies because of its strategic position next to the world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and shipping lanes, and because it is home to one of the most active wings of al Qaeda.
Monday's strikes were the first in almost two months by pilotless aircraft against suspected al Qaeda men in Yemen, an impoverished country of mountains and desert on the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.
The officials said the first drone strike hit a vehicle in a town in al-Bayda province, killing at least two suspected al Qaeda militants. One of those killed in the attack was a Jordanian citizen, a local official and a resident said.