ADEN, Yemen, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- At least five members of the Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot were killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen's southeastern province of Hadramout Wednesday night, a government official told Xinhua.
Three U.S. drone-fired missiles struck an al-Qaida vehicle in the Qatan area in Hadramout, leaving at least five terrorists dead at the scene, the local government official said on condition of anonymity.
"An al-Qaida car carrying wanted terrorists was completely destroyed in the aerial attack, killing all passengers," the official said.
A huge explosion rocked the Qatan area during the air bombing, a local resident told Xinhua anonymously, adding that military aircraft are still hovering over several al-Qaida-held sites in Hadramout's suburbs.
The United States has beefed up anti-terror cooperation with the Yemeni government since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in February, after a year of political upheaval that allowed al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to capture several cities in the south.
The al-Qaida militants were recently either captured or hunted by the security authorities after a U.S.-backed offensive in the southern Abyan province three months ago, routing the militants out of their strongholds that they had controlled for nearly a year.
Combating al-Qaida network in the restive south is one of the challenges confronting Hadi, who has promised to reform the army, restore security and uproot the resurgent branch of al-Qaida, locally known as Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law).