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The United States and Yemen are taking on Islamic militants on the land and from the air amid fears that al Qaeda is exploiting the political chaos and leadership vacuum engulfing the unstable and impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

Yemeni government forces are trying to wrest the southern town of Zinjibar from Islamic militants, and an American official said U.S. military-led airstrikes have resumed and top insurgents have been killed.

U.S. drone strikes had been conducted in the past in Yemen, but they had paused amid the unrest. CNN National Security Contributor Fran Townsend, a former Bush Homeland Security adviser, said the current airstrikes are an “indication of the strength and confidence” President Barack Obama has in the CIA, which directs the strikes.

Source: Mohammed Jamjoom, Hakim Almasmari and Barbara Starr for CNN.

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