ADEN, Yemen, March 22 (Xinhua) -- A missile strike launched by a U.S drone targeted al-Qaida bases in Yemen's war-torn southern province of Abyan on Thursday, killing at least 30 fighters of the terrorist group, officials and witnesses told Xinhua.
A compound used by the al-Qaida group along with two positions in Zinjibar city, Abyan's provincial capital, were targeted by missiles fired from a U.S drone, at least 30 militants were killed and dozens of others injured, a local security official said on condition of anonymity.
Witnesses told Xinhua anonymously that a warplane also fired a missile at three vehicles of the al-Qaida group in downtown Zinjibar carrying foreign fighters, the sound of explosions and rocket fire could be clearly heard across Zinjibar city.
"There was a missile strike Thursday in Zinjibar, which targeted vehicles and bases of the al-Qaida group," the witnesses said, adding that "a lot of people were apparently killed and their vehicles were completely destroyed at the scene."
"According to our initial information two missiles believed to have been launched by a U.S drone on an al-Qaida site located in the center of Zinjibar city," a local military intelligence officer said anonymously, adding that "we have no confirmed reports about whether any foreigners were killed during the missile strike."
The al-Qaida spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
On Wednesday, suspected al-Qaida militants killed an officer of the Yemeni military intelligence agency after kidnapping him at Mukalla city, the capital of the southeastern Hadramout province, a security official told Xinhua.
Al-Qaida militants who took advantage of the conflicts in the country have seized several towns in Abyan and Shabwa provinces after fighting with government troops backed by U.S. drones.
In January 2009, al-Qaida affiliates in Saudi Arabia and Yemen officially merged and formed Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula ( AQAP).
The group, mainly entrenching in Yemen's southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, is on the terrorist list of the United States, which considers it as an increasing threat to its national security.
Al-Qaida has taken advantage of the worsening security situation in Yemen, which is one of the most impoverished countries in the world, to plot and mount attacks locally and internationally.