SANAA, Yemen (AP) — An airstrike Tuesday killed three alleged al-Qaida militants in the country's southeast, Yemeni tribal leaders said Tuesday.
The leaders, who witnessed the strike in Hadramawt province, said they saw it hit a vehicle carrying the three militants and suspected it came from a U.S. drone.
A Yemeni official said the government had not carried out any strikes in the area. Both the official and the witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The United States has regularly carried out drone strikes in Yemen, escalating the rate of attacks in the last year. Washington rarely confirms individual strikes.
Yemen is fighting a war against al-Qaida's local branch, which Washington considers one of the world's most dangerous offshoots of the terror network.
The branch, also known as Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, regularly strikes security and military targets with drive-by shootings, suicide bombings and other attacks.
A separate attack by gunmen killed eight soldiers on patrol late Monday in the southern city of Ataq, in Shabwa province, a security official said speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to brief the press. The soldiers were all killed while patrolling in their vehicle to secure oil pipelines in the area.