ADEN - An apparent US drone attack killed at least five al-Qaida-linked militants in south Yemen on Saturday while Yemeni government forces killed 15 others in a new offensive against insurgents, officials and residents said.

An air strike believed to have been carried out by a US drone set a vehicle on fire, killing its passengers in the southeastern province of Shabwa, a regional official told Reuters. Residents said at least five militants had died.

It was the latest in a series of reported drone assaults on militants in the south of the impoverished Arab country who exploited mass protests last year against then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh to seize large swathes of territory, including Zinjibar, the capital of restive Abyan province.

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