ADEN (Reuters) - The head of the media department of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and six other militants were killed in an air raid on militant outposts in Yemen, and gunmen retaliated by blowing up a gas export pipeline, Yemeni officials and residents said on Saturday.
The Yemeni Defense Ministry said Ibrahim al-Banna, an Egyptian national, died in a raid by Yemeni war planes on militant positions in Shabwa province in southern Yemen late on Friday.
Residents and local officials said they believed the attacks were conducted by foreign aircraft and that there were at least three raids on several targets.
A Yemeni official described al-Banna as one of the most dangerous militants on their wanted list.
Unidentified assailants, believed to be militants, later blew up a gas pipeline which transports gas from Maarib province to Belhaf port on the Arabian Sea.
Yemen's LNG export facility at Balhaf, which is led by French oil major Total (TOTF.PA) with three South Korea companies holding stakes, opened in 2009 and was the largest industrial project every carried out in Yemen.
Witnesses said the flames from the gas pipeline could be seen from several kilometres away.
(Reporting by Mohammed Mokhashef, writing by Sami Aboudi; editing by Tim Pearce)