SANA, Yemen — The United States has raised the tempo in its war against al-Qaida in Yemen, killing nine of the group's militants in the second high-profile airstrike in as many weeks.
The dead in the Friday night strike included Abdul-Rahman al-Awlaki, 21, the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, the prominent American-Yemeni militant killed in a Sept. 30 strike. Also dead in the Friday airstrike in the Shabwa province was Egyptian-born Ibrahim al-Banna, identified by the nation's Defense Ministry as the media chief of the Yemeni al-Qaida branch.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as the branch is known, is considered by the United States as the most dangerous of the terror network's affiliates.
Yemeni officials attributed the recent U.S. successes against al-Qaida to better intelligence from an army of Yemeni informers and cooperation with the Saudis, Washington's longtime Arab allies, the Associated Press said. There were as many as 3,000 informers on the U.S. payroll around Yemen, AP said it was told by the officials.
Yemen unrest: At least 18 people were killed in Sana when President Ali Abdullah Saleh's troops fired on protesters with assault rifles and anti-aircraft guns and clashed with rivals, hospital sources and witnesses said. Up to 300,000 people joined Saturday's demonstrations, the largest in Sana in months, witnesses said.
Egypt bars discrimination: Egypt's transitional military rulers have issued a decree prohibiting all forms of discrimination, including on the basis of religion. The step comes about a week after 26 people were killed in clashes involving minority Coptic Christian protesters, the military and others in the worst bloodshed since Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February. The measure carries a maximum penalty of three months in prison and a fine of nearly $17,000.