SANAA - Ten civilians including a 10-year-old girl were killed in a Yemeni government air strike that had apparently missed its intended target, a car carrying Islamist militants, tribal officials and residents there said on Monday.

The missile attack in a mountainous area in the center of the country on Sunday prompted angry protests by relatives of the victims, residents told Reuters.

The impoverished Arabian Peninsula state has become a key battleground for the United States in its war against al-Qaida militancy.

The country has been in turmoil since an uprising against veteran ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh began in January last year. Saleh stepped down in February but militants managed to strengthen their foothold in remote regions during the unrest.

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