The Pentagon has said that an airstrike on 2 March in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen has killed a former inmate of Guantanamo Bay. The department added that Yasir al-Silmi was killed in strike against al Qaeda, however, he was not considered a "high-value" target.

"We can confirm the death of a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Yasir al-Silmi," Navy Captain Jeff Davis said on Monday (6 March), adding that the same strike has killed Usayd al-Adani, "a long-time Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula explosives expert and facilitator who served as the organisation's emir".

Al-Silmi, also known as Mohammed Tahar, was a Yemeni national and had been in the controversial detention centre in Cuba between 2002 and 2009.

"It is assessed detainee will engage in extremist activities upon release. He has threatened [Guantanamo] personnel and continues to support jihad," a leaked Department of Defence memo at the time said, the BBC reported.

Meanwhile, the navy chief Davis also said that over the past five nights, the US has launched over 40 air raids in Yemen targeting militants belonging to the al-Qaeda.

The attacks are "to keep the pressure on the terrorists and deny them access and freedom of movement within traditional safe havens", he said, and added "[Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terrorist attacks against the United States.

"We'll continue to work with the government of Yemen and our partners on the ground to defeat [the organization] and deny it the ability to operate."

US airstrike in Yemen
A house destroyed by an air strike that was targeting al Qaeda-linked militants in Yemen REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Although the Department of Defense has not released the number of casualties in the latest air strikes, but some reports suggested that at least nine militants were killed, and local residents said the casualties in last week's fighting included children.