An airstrike by Yemeni warplanes killed six al Qaeda operatives Friday in a desert village bordering Saudi Arabia, including a key figure who plotted to assassinate the U.S. ambassador, security officials said.
Four of those killed were on Yemen's list of most-wanted al Qaeda figures, including Qassim al-Raimi, who was considered to be the most senior military leader in the terrorist network's offshoot in Yemen.
With the help of U.S. counterterrorism aid and training, Yemen has increased operations against al Qaeda in recent weeks.
Friday's airstrike hit the village of Yatama, about 118 miles northeast of the capital, San'a, the security officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.
In 2005, al-Raimi was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for plotting a bomb attack in the capital's diplomatic quarter and planning to assassinate the American ambassador. Neither plot was carried out.
Al-Raimi escaped from a Yemeni prison in 2006 with 21 other militants.