The men were heavily armed, carrying machine-guns and explosives, the ministry said. It was not possible to verify the details independently given the remoteness of the region.
At least six people have been killed in air strikes apparently carried out by drones since Tuesday. In a statement issued on Friday, a group of clerics and preachers from southern Yemen said one of their members had been killed in one of the recent U.S. drone attacks. “Among the four killed in an attack launched by a U.S. aircraft in the al-Qatn district of Hadramout on Wednesday was one of our members, Salem bin Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, who had no link to al Qaeda,” the Union of Clerics and Preachers of Yemen’s Southern Provinces said in a statement.
“He was known for his moderate ... approach that was far from being excessively strict.” The impoverished Arabian Peninsula state has been in turmoil since an uprising last year which eventually forced veteran ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down in February.
On Thursday, a Yemeni intelligence officer was killed on the street in the capital Sanaa by a gunman shooting from a motorbike. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.—WB