Washington considers the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to be the group's most dangerous branch (AFP)
A US drone strike in Yemen killed 10 suspected al-Qaeda members over the weekend, according to local government officials, as raids against the group continued to intensify in southern Yemen.
The United States is the only force known to operate armed drones over war-torn Yemen, where thousands have died in the conflict and millions now face famine.
Fadl Tissi, Han Tissi and Sultan Amri – three Yemenis "known for their ties to al-Qaeda" – were killed when their car was hit in a drone attack on Qaifa in the central Baida province late Sunday, a local government official said.
Another drone attack at around midnight Saturday targeted three vehicles on the road from the southern province of Shabwa to Baida, killing seven suspected Islamic militants, an official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
In October, US government officials said it had killed an al-Qaeda commander in Yemen.
Shroum al-Sanaani, a leading figure with the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula group, was travelling on a motorbike along with an unidentified man when the strike killed them both, the sources said.
The attack was carried out in the Yakala area, a stronghold for the militant group where US drones have repeatedly targeted al-Qaeda members in the past few months.
Washington considers the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to be the radical group's most dangerous branch.
A long-running US drone war against AQAP has intensified since President Donald Trump took office in January.
AQAP has flourished in the chaos of the country's civil war, which pits the Saudi-backed government against Shia Houthi rebels and their allies.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict since a Saudi-led military coalition intervened on the government's side in March 2015.
Al-Qaeda's rivals, the Islamic State group, have also carried out several deadly attacks in the country.
Washington in October said it had killed dozens of IS fighters at training camps in Baida. Trump ordered a special operations raid in January against al-Qaeda targets which led to the death of a Navy commando and a number of Yemeni civilians.