ADEN, Yemen, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Two militants from the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch were killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen's central province of al-Bayda on Thursday, a military official told Xinhua.
"The U.S. drone targeted a vehicle carrying the militants in the Sawmaah area of al-Bayda province, killing two al-Qaida operatives at the scene," the local military official said on condition of anonymity.
The deceased militants were identified as Jalal al-Saydi and Abu Bilal al-Lawdari who both participated in several terrorist attacks in Yemen, according to the military official.
Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional al-Qaida insurgencies in the Middle East.
The Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009.
Since then it has claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks against Yemen's army and government institutions.
U.S. drones have been active over Yemen's skies for years now, launching hundreds of air strikes, killing scores of al-Qaida leaders and many other extremists.
The Arab country has recently seen a growing number of al-Qaida activities in its eastern and southern provinces.
The increased terrorist activity is due to the prolonged security vacuum as a result of the 19-month-long civil war between the exiled government and Houthi rebels who seized the majority of the country's northern territory including its capital Sanaa in 2014.
The military conflict has killed over 10,000 individuals, according to UN. statistics, displaced thousands as well as enmeshed the country's civilians in a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.