SANAA, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- At least four al-Qaida members were killed late Saturday in a U.S. air ride in Yemen's southeastern province of Hadramout, a provincial security official and witnesses said.
"Four prominent members of the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were killed after a missile fired by a U.S. unmanned warplane hit their vehicle on a road in the north of the town of al-Qatan," the official told Xinhua by phone anonymously.
Residents in al-Qatan town said they heard two huge explosions after the U.S. drone fired two missiles at the target on a desert road in Wadi Hadramout, north of al-Qatan.
They said the air raid took place late Saturday and the drone hovered over the area for a long time.
Police in al-Qatan rushed to the scene, according to the security official, who also said that "the air raid occurred in coordination with the Yemeni intelligence services after an agent placed an electronic chip under the targeted car."
The United States has beefed up anti-terror cooperation with the Yemeni government since Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in February, after a year of political upheaval that allowed the AQAP to capture several cities in the south.
The Yemen-based al-Qaida militants were recently either captured or hunted by the Yemeni security authorities after a U.S.- backed offensive in the southern Abyan province two months ago routed the militants out of their strongholds that they had controlled for nearly a year.
Combating al-Qaida militants in the restive south is one of the challenges confronting Hadi, who has promised to restore security and uproot the Yemeni branch of al-Qaida, which is known locally as Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law).