Yemen officials: US forces evacuate as al-Qaida takes city

Yemenis carry a body of a man killed in a bomb attack in a mosque in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, March 20, 2015. Triple suicide bombers hit a pair of mosques crowded with worshippers in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Friday, causing heavy casualties, according to witnesses. The attackers targeted mosques frequented by Shiite rebels, who have controlled the capital since September. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

ADEN, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni military and security officials say a group of U.S. military forces, including Special Forces commandos, have evacuated an air base after al-Qaida seized a nearby city.

The officials say the troops are leaving the Al Anad air base near the southern city of al-Houta. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to discuss troop movements, did not say whether the troops left the country.

There are some 100 American troops and Special Forces commandos believed to be stationed there.

U.S. officials declined to immediately comment Saturday.

Al-Qaida’s local branch is considered by Washington to be the group’s most dangerous offshoot. The U.S. has carried out a series of drone strikes in Yemen targeting suspected militants.

Al-Qaida militants took al-Houta on Friday. Their offensive comes as Shiite rebels hold the capital and nine of Yemen’s 21 provinces.

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