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YEMEN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A U.S. air strike in Yemen has killed a regional Al-Qaeda senior operative, the Pentagon said Friday.

It happened January 8 in a remote area of al Bayda Governorate, Yemen, according to a statement from the Pentagon.

Abd al-Ghani al-Rasas was a senior leader and facilitator in the area. His death will disrupt al-Qaida’s terrorism operations in Yemen and the region, said the Pentagon.

“This strike removes an AQAP senior leader and facilitator in the area and will disrupt AQAP’s terrorism operations in Yemen and the region,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement.

Yemeni security officials said heavy fighting continues to rage near the strategic Red Sea strait of Bab al-Mandab in western Yemen, leaving dozens dead and wounded.

The officials said that, since Monday, fighters aligned with Yemen’s internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi have made advances and seizing more territory from Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition provided air cover for Hadi’s forces, they said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The war in Yemen is entering its second year after Houthis seized the capital Sanaa and forced Hadi to flee the country. The Saudi-led coalition has waged an extensive air campaign since March 2015 aimed at restoring Hadi’s government. The northern region remains under Houthi control.

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