ADEN - Air strikes on a factory seized by al Qaida-linked Islamists in southern Yemen killed at least three of their fighters on Sunday, the militants and residents said.

Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia said the attack was carried out by US drones, which Washington has repeatedly used to target militants in the strife-torn nation.

Residents said planes bombarded the mountainous area of Jebel Khanfar overlooking the town of Jaar, which al Qaida-linked militants snatched last year while anti-government protests paralyzed the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state.

There was no immediate comment from US authorities or the Yemeni government.

About 59 militants have been killed in a wave of air strikes in the south of the country since Friday, according to local officials and tribal sources.

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