ADEN: A US drone strike has killed three suspected members of Al Qaeda in Yemen’s Shabwa province, a extremist stronghold in the south, a security official said on Saturday.
The strike hit a vehicle in Saeed district late Friday killing the driver and both passengers, the official said.
The strike took place in the al Naqba area of Shabwa province where residents heard a loud explosion that they say completely destroyed a vehicle carrying armed people.
Shabwa is one of several provinces in Yemen where al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is active.
Washington considers Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based branch to be its most dangerous and has conducted a long-running drone war against its leaders.
Since President Donald Trump took office in January, the campaign has intensified.
Last month, US commandos conducted a ground raid on an Al Qaeda headquarters compound in Marib province, further north, killing at least seven militants in a fight that left several US troops wounded.
For more than two years, Yemen has been locked in a devastating civil war between the Saudi-backed government and Shiite rebels who control the capital.
Al Qaeda has taken advantage of the conflict to expand its presence in several areas of southern and eastern Yemen under the nominal control of the government and its allies in a Saudi-led military coalition.
The United States has repeatedly attacked AQAP with aircraft and unmanned drones in what US officials say is a campaign to wear down the group’s ability to coordinate attacks abroad.