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US drone kills four al-Qaeda suspects in Yemen

US official says missile targeted a 4x4 transporting four al-Qaeda suspects near Mukalla, capital of Hadramawt province
Yemeni men walk past a mural depicting a US drone and a dove in Sanaa on 13 December 2013 (AFP)

Four suspected al-Qaeda members were killed in an apparent US drone strike in southeastern Yemen, a local official said on Thursday.

The raid late on Wednesday targeted a 4x4 transporting the four suspects near Mukalla, capital of Hadramawt province, with a missile leaving the vehicle charred, the official said.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), viewed by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of the network, has controlled Mukalla since its militants overran the coastal city in April.

The United States, the only country known to operate armed drones over Yemen, has carried on with strikes on militants during months of fighting between pro-government forces and Shia Houthi militiamen.

AQAP said in June that its leader in Yemen, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, had been killed in a drone strike.