While the Christian world celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ, their Lord and savior, on Easter weekend Muslim soldiers assisted by U.S. counterterrorism operatives were in the midst of a major offensive against the violent and prolific terrorist group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) within the provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, Yemen, according Middle East news organizations on Saturday and Sunday.
According to reports, the attacks on AQAP Islamists are far-reaching with at least 50 terrorists being killed on Sunday alone. The operation involved Yemeni commandos who were following orders to locate and kill top AQAP members.
On Saturday, several news outlets reported that the U.S. launched drone strikes targeting al-Qaida fighters in Yemen that left at least a dozen Islamists dead and numerous terrorists wounded.
Sunday's early morning commando strikes targeted a mountain stronghold in the southern province of Abyan. It is believed it was chosen as a target since hundreds of AQAP members and supporters had gathered their recently to see and hear the chief of the terrorist group's Yemeni branch and the global organization's second-in-command.
SABA, Yemen's government-controlled news agency, claims that at least three strikes targeted an al-Qaida training camp in the village of Wadi al Khila, about 280 miles south of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. The fighters were allegedly getting into positions to begin attacking Yemenis and foreign nationals and their property, according to Yemen's Supreme Security Committee.
The strikes totally leveled the terrorist training facilities killed al-Qaida's Yemeni recruits and foreign fighters from countries throughout the world who were undergoing training for deployment in Yemen, Syria and other nations in which Islamists are battling secular governments and dictatorships.
Sunday's raid is being touted by the government as a joint U.S.-Yemeni operation. But it's not known whether drones were used in the attack. According to reports, the United States is the only nation known to have conducted drone strikes in Yemen.
Yemeni officials told reporters that it would take some time present the details of the weekend's drone strikes and combat operations against terrorist camps, as well as an accurate death toll and list of casualties suffered by the terrorist organization.
"The United States first used armed drones to pick off an al-Qaida operative in Yemen in 2002. Strikes on suspected al-Qaida figures resumed in 2009, with more than 100 reported since then, according to the New America Foundation, a U.S.-based think tank that tracks the raids.
"Those strikes have killed somewhere between 700 and 1,000 people, including at least 81 civilians," the foundation says.