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Second night of US airstrikes in Yemen could mean incresed effort against Al Qaeda

(ABCNews.com photo)

The U.S. military has launched a second night of airstrikes in Yemen targeting Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to U.S. officials.

There were several airstrikes overnight against group targets, according to two U.S. officials. There were no additional details on what targets were hit.

More than 20 airstrikes were conducted Thursday, the first U.S. military action since the deadly U.S. raid in late-January intended to gather intelligence on the terror group. The two nights of airstrikes could indicate an increase in U.S. military activity targeting the organization in Yemen.

CLICK HERE: More than 20 US airstrikes conducted in Yemen overnight

The first night of more than 20 airstrikes early-Thursday targeted group militants, artillery and equipment in three Yemeni provinces. The airstrikes were conducted by a mix of unmanned and manned aircraft.

While airstrikes in Yemen are a regular occurrence, there have not been so many airstrikes at one time as occurred Thursday.

The strikes had long been planned and, a U.S. official said. Though they were not the direct result of the Jan. 28 raid, intelligence from it confirmed information about the targets.

The Jan. 28 raid, conducted by SEAL Team Six in rural southern Yemen, was intended as an intelligence gathering mission targeting a known Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula compound, officials have said.

Some of the intelligence gathered in the raid included hundreds of contacts for the organization in the region and the West, a U.S. official told ABC News today.

Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens was killed in an intense firefight that occurred during the raid, and five other U.S. service members were wounded by enemy fire or injured in an MV-22 Osprey hard landing, officials said.

Fourteen Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters were killed in the raid, the U.S. military said. An ongoing U.S. Central Command review has determined that some civilians were also killed, possibly including children.

Local reports in Yemen have said that as many as 25 civilians may have been killed during the raid.

Obtained from computers and cellphones seized in the raid, the contacts included email addresses, messaging app identities and phone numbers, according to the official.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has planned terrorist attacks against Western targets.

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