ADEN, Yemen, June 1 (Xinhua) -- At least 12 al-Qaida militants were killed on Friday when a U.S. drone strike pounded their compound in the southern province of Abyan, a government official told Xinhua.
The U.S. drone fired three missiles on a compound used for communications and meetings of the al-Qaida militants in the eastern parts of Mahfad town in Abyan province, killing at least 12 insurgents at the scene, the local government official said on condition of anonymity.
Three Somalis and some other foreign nationals were among the killed insurgents, the official said.
The al-Qaida compound was completely demolished in the attack along with some communication materials used by the terrorist group, he added.
Local residents confirmed to Xinhua said "for the first time, several foreigners were killed by the air strike that targeted an al-Qaida complex in Mahfad town."
The al-Qaida spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Hundreds of militants from the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch, locally known as Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), are attempting to expand their foothold and take control over the county's southern regions where central authority has almost no presence.
The United States strongly supported Yemen in the fight against al-Qaida with drone attacks, killing a number of senior al-Qaida members.