SANAA: A suspected US-led drone strike killed four persons, allegedly affiliated to the Al Qaeda, on Saturday in a southern Yemeni province, according to security officials.

The officials said the attack took place around dawn in an area called Deyqa in Abyan province.

Officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorised to brief the media.

Yemeni forces battled Al Qaeda in Abyan province last year, routing militants from major cities that Al Qaeda had briefly ruled during the country’s 2011 political turmoil.

The militants fled to surrounding mountainous areas after Yemen’s military, assisted by the United States, forced them to retreat.

According to several research groups and The Associated Press’s own reporting, there has been a dramatic rise in such drone strikes in Yemen since the country’s new US-backed president assumed power early last year.

Washington says Al Qaeda in Yemen is among the group’s most dangerous and active branches worldwide.

The US Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, met Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Saturday.

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama extended an executive decision warning supporters of the country’s former longtime rule, ousted after more than three decades in power by protests, to stop hampering the political process or face having their assets frozen.

Hadi also told Yemeni state TV Saturday that tampering of the country’s military jets over the past year is the work of either Al Qaeda or those wanting to sabotage the army, a reference to supporters of Saleh still in government and security posts.

He vowed an investigation into the incidents.

Seven military aircraft have been sabotaged while still on the ground, including at least two that were torched.

Additionally, just five days ago a military plane on a training exercise exploded in midair over the country’s capital, killing the pilot. It was the third such jet crash since Hadi took power.

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