GENEVA (AP) — An aid worker with the international Red Cross was killed in an airstrike Wednesday while on a humanitarian mission in Yemen, the group said.
It said 35-year-old Yemeni national Hussein Saleh was traveling with three other staff members in an unmarked vehicle in the north of Abyan province, where government forces are battling al-Qaida militants.
Military officials said three militants were killed and four injured in an airstrike against two cars in Dhamayan district in Mahfad town in Abyan province Wednesday, but it wasn't immediately clear if the two incidents were related.
"The circumstances are still unclear," said Hicham Hassan, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva.
Saleh leaves behind a pregnant wife and four children, the group said.
"We are devastated by the tragic loss of our friend and colleague Hussein," said a statement quoting Eric Marclay, the head of the Red Cross delegation in Yemen.
"He was a very motivated and devoted staff member. He played a tremendously crucial role within his team helping hundreds of thousands of people in the south, and lost his life while performing humanitarian work."
Yemen's military efforts against al-Qaida are supported by the United States. The U.S. considers its Yemeni branch, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, to be the terror network's most dangerous offshoot.
On Tuesday, the U.N.'s independent investigator on extrajudicial killings cited Yemen as one of the countries where the U.S. has used unmanned drones to carry out airstrikes against terror suspects.
Christof Heyns told the U.N. Human Rights Council that the legal basis and the process of accountability for such airstrikes needs to be clarified.