Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula members
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula members Reuters

Four suspected members of Al-Qaeda were killed Monday in an apparent American drone strike on the Yemeni port city of Mukalla, which the jihadists overran last month, an official said, according to AFP.

The drone targeted a vehicle at the entrance to a presidential palace in Mukalla, capital of the southeastern province of Hadramawt, the official said, asking not to be named.

"Four Al-Qaeda members were killed, including leaders, and others wounded," he said, without being able to name those killed.

Monday’s airstrike came several days after it was revealed that a U.S. drone strike in April had killed Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, the senior Al-Qaeda official who appeared in a video claiming the deadly January attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The announcement of al-Ansi’s death came in a video posted last week on Twitter by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which Washington considers the international terror network's deadliest branch.

The United States is the only country that operates drones over war-torn Yemen, noted AFP.

Al-Qaeda has exploited fighting between rebels and beleaguered government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition to consolidate its grip on Hadramawt province.

Washington has acknowledged that Al-Qaeda is gaining ground but has vowed to keep up its battle against the group.